The Draconid meteorite will reach its peak this week and will be visible in the skies across the UK.
It is estimated that five shooting stars will appear in the night sky every hour on Wednesday evening (October 7, 2020).
We’ve put together everything you need to know about meteorites – and how to look at it.
How do dragonid meteorites occur?
The annual “show” occurs when the Geocobini-Sinner comet passes through the debris left by the comet, which explodes as the orbit approaches the Sun.
Small meteorites made from cometary fragments burn up as they enter Earth’s atmosphere – flowing through the night sky as “shooting stars”.
When will this happen this year?
The meteor shower will occur between October 2 and 16, 2020, but will rise on Thursday night, October 8, 2020.
When is the best time to take a shower?
Unlike other showers that look best after midnight, the best time to see the shower is in the evening.
What did NASA say about the annual event?
Although not the most active in the rain, 2011 saw more than 600 meteorites per hour.
NASA says: “Comet orbits the Sun every 6.6 years, causing dust clouds.
“Earth has experienced three or four tendrils this year.
“Normally a draconid meteorite will not give 10 to 20 meteors per hour at its peak.
“However, meteorologists estimate that this year’s drachonid rate will be above 600 per hour under optimal viewing conditions – that is, 10 per minute.”
Unlike most meteorites, dragonids are best seen in the evening, shortly after nightfall, and can vary from a few to hundreds of hours.
The display is most visible in the northern hemisphere, and can be seen in the clear sky shortly after dusk and from sources of light pollution.
The weather will be the biggest obstacle to a good view of the rain – clear skies will significantly reduce visibility.
What is the latest forecast for Thursday evening?
On Thursday night (October 8) the weather station, when the shower reaches its peak, will be variable with some scattered rain and cloud cover.
Where are the best places to see meteorites in the UK?
The best places to see meteorites – and many other astronomical phenomena – are called “Dark Sky Preserves”, which include the UK’s broken beacons, Exmor and Galloway National Parks.
What do astronomers advise when looking at a meteorite?
Astronomers advise you to lie on your back and use your eyes – no binoculars or binoculars – to see a shower and want to see as much sky as you can.
NASA also recommends that you give your eyes time to adapt to the darkness – so go out half an hour before the shower starts.
“Try to stay away from your phone, because looking at devices with bright screens can adversely affect your night vision, thus reducing the number of meteorites you see,” the space agency posted on a blog.
The size of the draconid shower will depend on the nature of the earth through the comet-filled wax.