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Two meteor showers to watch for this week

09 October 2019

According to the UK's Space Centre, the Draconids, which is said to be visible from October 7th until 9th, is unlike any other meteor shower as it peaks in the early evening, after sunset, rather than middle of the night.

This year, a bright waxing gibbous moon will block numerous meteors, but if the night is clear, this evening shower is well worth a look.

The AMS said that these meteors are poorly seen from the southern hemisphere due to low radiant altitude seen from below the equator.

"The Draconids meteor shower kicks off the fall meteor shower season", said Dave Samuhel, AccuWeather astronomy blogger and meteorologist.

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In 2011, European observers of the stars were treated to six hundred shooting stars an hour, which is known as the dragon "awakening".

The Draconid meteor shower is caused when the Earth "collides with bits of debris shed by periodic comet 21P/Giacobini-Zinnerfor", according to NASA.

In case you miss the Draconids, the Southern Taurids will follow immediately behind on October 9 and October 10, and while they are also expected to be a light shower with fewer than 10 meteors per hour, the AMS said the Taurids are "rich in fireballs".

Like the Draconids though, the Southern Taurids won't produce that many meteors per hour. It will peak Wednesday, Oct. 9 into Thursday, Oct. 10.

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"Unfortunately, the large bright evening Moon will hinder this year's Draconid shower". This won't be one you have to stay up past midnight to see.

It may be hard for people along the east coast to catch a glimpse of the two meteor showers, as cloudy skies and poor weather will affect viewing conditions. No special equipment is needed, but if you want the best view, it helps to be as far from artificial light as possible. Find a secluded viewing spot away from city lights.

Unlike planet-hunting or distant star gazing, meteor watching is a game of patience and comfort. We're not expecting any outbursts in 2019, but meteor shower outbursts are notoriously hard to predict, so you never know!

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Two meteor showers to watch for this week