Stargazers will be in for a treat as not one, but two meteor showers light up the night sky on consecutive nights this week.
The Draconid meteor shower will take center stage first, on Tuesday and Wednesday, while the Southern Taurid meteor shower will peak from Wednesday through Thursday, according to AccuWeather. Viewing conditions should be good for both meteor showers in California and the Midwest, the website said.
The Draconids, which typically see about 10 meteors per hour, are best viewed “as close to nightfall as possible,” according to EarthSky and AccuWeather. Viewers should try to look for meteors in parts of the sky away from the moon.
The moon will “likely drown all but the brightest meteors in its glare,” EarthSky said. Though the Draconid shower typically doesn’t produce many meteors, it occasionally spits out hundreds per hour — as it did over Europe in 2011, EarthSky said. No such phenomenon is expected this year.
The Southern Taurids rarely produce more than five meteors per hour, but the shower is “rich in fireballs,” according to the American Meteor Society.
“If you see a Taurid it can be very brilliant and it’ll knock your eyes out, but their rates absolutely suck,” NASA meteor expert Bill Cooke told Space.com. Cooke also cautioned that viewers should be prepared to look for a while before they see meteors.
The Taurid meteors will appear to originate in the Taurus constellation, but the meteors should appear “all over the night sky,” Space.com said.
Both meteor showers can be seen without using any special equipment. Observers should try to go to an area away from city lights, and lie down, staring up at the sky, according to Space.com.
And if you miss these starry displays, don’t fret: the Orionid meteor shower is expected to peak on Oct. 21 and 22, with approximately 15 meteors per hour, according to The Old Farmer’s Almanac.