How To See ‘Shooting Stars’ After Supper As Rare Double ‘Hunter’s Moon’ Rises This Weekend

Fall is fittingly a good time to keep an eye out for shooting stars. On a clear night, get out and stargaze for an hour and you’re bound to see at least one meteor flash in the night sky.

In an important way, this weekend will be slightly punctuated with the rise of the full moon – the “hunter’s moon” – best seen at dusk on Sunday 9th October and Monday 10th October 2022 , when it rises in the east.

MORE FROM FORBESSee a rare ‘double’ full moon: The two exact times to see the ‘Hunter’s Moon’ at its most brilliant this weekend

Because of its brightness, fine shooting stars are harder to spot than in a dark, moonless sky. However, this slight downside is somewhat offset by the peak of the Draconid meteor shower.

The Draconids, which appear to hail from a region of the night sky occupied by the constellation Draco “the Dragon,” may peak during their peak, which American Meteor says will peak this year on Friday, October 8, 2022 20 per hour count company.

The moon doesn’t help spot them, of course, but the Draconids are rare in that they’re just as easy to spot right after dark as at any other time. This is unlike most meteor showers, which are best seen after midnight when the apparent source constellation (ie, the portion of Earth’s atmosphere the meteors impact) is overhead.

Draco is a huge serpentine constellation between the Big Dipper and the Little Dipper in the northern sky. It is a circumpolar constellation that never sets. This means that it can be seen all night because, like the Big Dipper, it appears to revolve around Polaris, the “North Star” toward which Earth’s north axis is pointing. So you can see the Draconids in the north on Friday and all night as soon as it gets dark.

All you need to do is look generally northwest (keep your back to the bright moon and Jupiter to the east) and with any luck you’ll spot a relatively slow-moving Draconid. Although they can appear anywhere in the night sky as streaks of fast-moving lights, tracing these streaks will take you to the northern sky.

This also means that the Draconids can only ever be seen in the northern hemisphere.

Comets leave a trail of debris and dust called meteoroids as they travel through space, especially as they approach the sun. When a comet’s orbit intersects Earth’s orbit around the Sun, it leaves behind a stream of meteoroids that Earth inevitably has to break through once a year.

The source of the Draconids is a comet called 21P/Giacobini-Zinner, which was the first comet to be visited by a spacecraft, the International Cometary Explorer (ICE) satellite, in 1985. It was last in the inner solar system in 2018 and will visit again in 2025, so the Draconids are a meteor shower that gets refreshed regularly.

I wish you clear skies and big eyes.

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