Skywatch: Look for meteors and the International Space Station


We will start off the week with the Draconid meteor shower.

Even though it is a minor meteor shower the moon phase will give us favorable viewing.

The Draconids are caused by Comet 21P/Giacobini-Zinner and the shower is expected to peak Sunday or Monday in the evening, not early morning like most meteor showers.

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You are lucky to see around five to eight meteors an hour in a typical year.

Every so often, though the dragon “roars” bringing upwards of hundreds of meteors an hour.

The parent comet’s orbit was at its closest point to the sun less than a month ago so this could be one of those years… fingers crossed.

For best viewing look in the north in the evening and get as far away from the city lights as possible.

The New Moon will help with viewing this year’s Draconids. It arrives at 11:47 p.m. on Monday night so light pollution from our satellite will be at a minimum.

The moon will start to brighten to a visible crescent by Wednesday night so you can go “young moon hunting” later in the week. If you are out looking for the waxing crescent look in the southwest about an hour after sunset. It will be joined by Jupiter and Antares, the brightest star in Scorpio. Above is how you’ll find the three on Thursday night.

If you’re at a football game on Friday evening take some time to look up shortly after kickoff and you might spot the International Space Station. It’ll be visible for six minutes starting at 7:24 p.m. The ISS will enter low in the sky in the northwest and exit low in the southeast and reach nearly overhead as it treks across the heavens. It’ll look like a fast moving star so it’ll be tough to miss. Happy hunting!