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Although the Perseid meteor shower is the best known, in autumn there are also occasions to enjoy similar astronomical spectacles. From October 6 to 10, without going any further, we meet the Draconids. This meteor shower owes its name to the constellation Draco the Dragon, since this is where the shooting stars created when the remains of dust left behind by comet 21P / Giacobini-Zinner seem to come from.
The best places to observe the show will be Europe, North America and Asia, although some of these shooting stars can also be seen at points near the Equator in the southern hemisphere.
The Draconids will be visible between October 6 and 10 and this year they will reach their maximum on the 8th. The constellation of the Dragon will be visible throughout the night, but the best moment will be at nightfall, since at that time the head of the Dragon will be higher in the sky. Best of all, you can enjoy the Draconids a few seconds longer than the other meteor showers because they fall much slower: just 20 kilometers per second.
Can you see many shooting stars?
Normally the Draconids are not one of the most active meteor showers of the year and also in 2016 the crescent moon will be able to hide the weakest meteors.
But, don't be discouraged: Draconids are also known to give hundreds and even thousands of shooting stars in an hour. In fact, the history of this meteor shower is what makes it so interesting. Five years ago, in October 2011, more than 600 meteors per hour could be observed from Europe, despite the bright moon that night. This was because the comet passed through its perihelion, that is, its closest point to the Sun, which happens every 6.6 years. Although no one expects a similar outbreak this year, the Dragon can always surprise us ...
Tips for observing the Meteor Shower
Although it is not necessary to look in a particular direction to observe the Draconids, astronomers suggest locating the brightest stars in the constellation of the Dragon, Etamin and Rastaban, since the meteor shower appears to emerge from the head of the Dragon. You will find yourself looking northwest, very close to Ursa Minor.
Check the weather before going out to see the Draconids. It will be better to bundle up because for this Saturday the temperatures drop. You should also look for a place with few clouds.
Get away from the light pollution of the city and find a place where you can see the sky without obstacles.
You don't need binoculars or a telescope, they decrease the field of view of the sky.
You can take a reclining chair, meteor showers require us to be patient so it is better to wait comfortably and with your eyes up to the sky.
Find out what time the moon will rise and set. Between October 6 and 10 it will be close to the first quarter and it will hide from 12:45 Spanish time.