Draconid meteor shower peaks tonight

     JSHN contributor Rob Loffredo snapped this photo during the Perseid meteor shower  in August 2015.

    JSHN contributor Rob Loffredo snapped this photo during the Perseid meteor shower in August 2015.

    It’s time for the Draconid meteor shower. 

    The celestial show could dazzle sky-gazers as soon as darkness falls, but unlike the prolific Perseids in August, patience is a prerequisite for viewing. 

    “There’s no moon to obscure this year’s shower, so it’s worth a look, although the shower is oftentimes a sleeper. But watch out if the Dragon awakes!” says an EarthSky.org article.

    From the article:

    Usually, this meteor shower offers no more than a handful of languid meteors per hour, even at its peak. Plus, in 2015, the waning crescent moon this year won’t rise until the wee hours of the morning, guaranteeing a dark sky for this meteor shower during the peak evening hours.

    Also, watch out if the Dragon awakes! This shower has been known to rain down hundreds or even thousands of meteors in an hour. And in fact it’s the history of this shower that makes it so interesting.

    No outburst is predicted for this year, but then, you never know for sure. Remember – no matter where you are on Earth – the radiant for this meteor shower is highest up in the evening.

    NOAA is forecasting mostly cloudy skies in northern shore areas and partly cloudy skies south tonight and showers tomorrow night, so although there will likely be some clouds to contend with tonight, it’s your best shot.

    Viewing tips:

    No special equipment is needed to watch a meteor shower. Simply find a dark, open sky away from artificial lights. Lie down comfortably on a blanket or lawn chair, and look straight up.
    EarthSky suggests bringing a reclining lawn chair, pointing your in a general north or northwest direction, and looking upward. 

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