Two October Meteor Showers Peak This Week, A Third Is On Its Way

Two meteor showers—the Draconids and the Southern Taurids—are currently active and both are expected to peak this week.

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Meteor Showers
Two October Meteor Showers Peak This Week, A Third Is On Its Way

If you’re a lover of all things celestial and space, the months of October and November have some excitement in store. According to the American Meteor Society (AMS) calendar, two meteor showers—the Draconids and the Southern Taurids—are currently active, and both are expected to peak, or reach maximum activity, this week. 

The Draconids will peak on Oct. 8 and 9 and the Southern Taurids will reach its most active state on the nights of Oct. 9 and 10. The Southern Taurids are a notoriously longer shower with a high number of fireball appearances, meaning many of the meteors will reach a brightness that exceeds a magnitude similar to Venus in the evening sky.

Still, according to the AMS and AccuWeather, both of these showers are considered minor showers, as they rarely produce over five shower members per hour, meaning they may be tricky to spot. Accuweather reports that the best time for viewing if clear skies allow is 3 a.m. local time.

If you happen to miss those peaks, fear not, because meteor shower season is only just beginning. According to the AMS and AccuWeather, the Orionids, which are currently active, peak later this month on Oct. 21 and Oct. 22. The Orionids are a major shower, producing 10 to 20 members per hour. Which, according to AccuWeather Astronomy Blogger Dave Samuhel. Actually fall from Halley’s Comet—the one that’s only visible from Earth every 76 years.

“Even though the comet visits the inner solar system only every 76 years,” he said. “It left behind enough debris to produce this shower year in, year out.”

Sometimes, the Orionids surprise and have the potential to be more active than usual. During the annual showers between 2006-2009, its peak rates were on par with the Perseids. Which is the most popular shower of the year that takes place in late August. Typically yielding 50 to 75 members per hour. 

According to AccuWeather, the moon will rise around midnight local time on Oct. 21, so if you’re out for the Orionids observation beyond that time. You’re the best bet is to avoid light pollution by facing away from the moon. 

Next month, the North Taurids are expected to peak during a full moon between November 11 and 12.

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