First, watch for the Draconids. They are overhead now but best is to look for them at their peak Oct. 8-9, 2021
Emanating from the debris of comet 21P/Giacobinib-Zinner, the Draconids’ typical output is only about 10 meteors per hour although it famously shot hundreds of meteors across the sky back in 2011 and in 1945.
The good news is that the best time to watch for them is shortly after dark so you don’t have to wait until after midnight.
The meteor shower derives its name from its radiant point near the head of constellation Draco the Dragon in the northern sky.
Then, put the Orionids on your calendar for Oct. 21, 2021. They are the second meteor shower this year to come from comet Halley. It produced the Eta-Aquarids in May.
Producing about 20 meteors per hour their radiant point is the constellation Orion.
The Harvest Moon that appeared Oct. 1-2 pulled out cell phones to snap its full golden beauty. But there’s more to come in October for the casual sky watcher.
The Draconids, a meteor shower that may be spotted zooming overhead in the Northern Hemisphere Oct. 6-10, peaks Oct. 7-8.
The good news is watchers don’t have to wait until midnight and later because this meteor shower typically is seen in early evening. Plus, the moonlight won’t be a factor because the earth’s “nightlight” is in its gibbous waning phase and won’t be rising until later in the evening.
The sort of bad news is that the Draconids, at about five meteors per hour, are seldom prolific. Watchers may see just a few or get lucky as people in Europe did in 2018 and catch this meteor shower in one of its boom years.
The Draconids are called that because they seem to emanate from Draco the Dragon constellation above the Little Dipper. Look for them in the northwestern sky. The parent comet is 21P/Giacobini-Zinner.
But as, tv ads say, wait. A slightly more prolific meteor shower is coming soon and can be seen in both hemispheres.
The Orionids that tend to have 10 to 20 meteors per hour, will be peaking Oct. 20-22 just before dawn after a crescent moon sets. So the sky should be dark enough to see the meteors. However, the Orionids also can be blazingly bright so even in an unfavorable moonlit sky they can be seen.
Look to the club of the Orion the Hunter constellation that gives these meteors their name. The parent comet is IP/Halley making the Orionids the comet’s second meteor shower in a year. The first was the Eta Aquarids that came in May.