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Draconids meteor shower to light up UK skies this weekend

Draconids meteor shower to light up UK skies this weekend

The Draconid meteor shower is also known as the Giacobinids

If you keep a look out you might be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of a meteor shower over the weekend as the Draconid meteor shower will be hitting the UK.

The meteor shower, also known as the Giacobinids, takes place every year and is one of the two showers that light up the skies in October.

In general, meteors occur when debris burns up in the Earth’s atmosphere, which produces a beautiful shooting tear-drop effect in the sky.

Smaller meteors can vaporise and leave behind a bright trail, while larger meteors have the potential to explode as fireballs.

But this Draconid shower originates from remnants of the comet 21P/Giacobini-Zinner which orbits around the sun for six-and-a-half years.

Dr Minjae Kim, a research fellow from the Department of Physics at the University of Warwick, has provided us with some dates to look out for.

If you keep a look out you might be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of a meteor shower over the weekend as the Draconid meteor shower will be hitting the UK.
Getty stock images

She said: “The Draconid meteor shower will be active from October 6th to 10th, with its peak occurring around October 8 and 9.

“During this period, the moon will be in its Last Quarter phase, providing favourable conditions for observation. The optimal viewing time for this meteor shower is in the evening, after nightfall, as the radiant point of the shower reaches its highest point in that constellation of the night sky at this time.”

The research fellow has also given advice on how to best view the event.

The meteor shower, also known as the Giacobinids, takes place every year and is one of the two showers that light up the skies in October.
Getty stock images

She explained: “To fully appreciate this celestial event, minimal light pollution is ideal. Find a location with an unobstructed horizon that offers a clear view of the stars on a dark, cloud-free night.

“The Draconid meteor shower is not directly related to the Draco constellation; they simply appear to emanate from a point within it.”

A second meteor shower, the Orionids, will peak between midnight and dawn on the night of October 21-22, according to the Royal Museums Greenwich.

This comes after 2023's first meteor shower in the UK, back in January, as up to 100 shooting stars crossed the sky.

The Quadrantids peaked on 3 January to 4 January 2023, with bluish or yellowish-white meteors with fine trains being visible in certain parts of the UK.

David Bailey, of UK Meteor Network, said: "You don’t need any special equipment to see the Quadrantid meteor shower from the UK but a bit of preparation is a good idea.

"First, check the weather forecast. If it’s going to be cloudy, then try the days before the peak viewing period.

"Next, find a dark (but safe!) place with a clear view away from buildings, trees, and street lights.

"The Quadrantids can appear in any part of the sky, so the more you can see the better."

Featured Image Credit: Getty Stock Images

Topics: Science, UK News, Space