I hope some of you got to see some good meteors this August, because I didn’t. Clouds seem to follow me every Perseid peak, and with my little astronomers being as young as they are, it was easier for me to just let them sleep this year and to not cheat myself on sleep either. So, maybe I can make the Draconids!
The Draconid meteor shower is expected on October 7 and 8. Unlike the Perseids, the Draconids are more likely to be active in the evening hours rather than after midnight, which might make it easier to take kids along to view. The waxing gibbous moon will be bright and interfering this year, but it might be worth getting out to take a look. Usually a minimalist shower, 2011 has been predicted to have an unusually high peak number, possibly even 1,000 per hour.
Wow! Could we really see that many?
Probably not. The moon will drown out a lot of meteors, and then the peak of this shower only lasts one hour. For North American viewers such as myself, that peak happens to fall during daylight on October 8, 2011, and we can’t see meteors in daylight. If you’re going to be in Europe, North Africa, or the Middle East, however, you might be in luck for seeing peak Draconids.
<sigh> Well, I won’t be traveling across the world, but I might try to see what I can see near home on one of those evenings anyway. And if not, then maybe the Orionids, or another meteor shower this year.