Let’s take a look at the most fascinating meteor showers 2013 that are going to take place this fall:

October 7, 2013, Draconid meteor shower

Fall is a time of the year that is often very rich with astronomical phenomena: on October 7, the Draconid meteor show will take place, and this is not the only celestial event that can be observed this week. On October 9, the 7th planet of our solar system, Uranus, will appear as the biggest and brightest star in 2013.

The northern hemisphere is the best place to observe Draconids. Contrary to the most other meteor showers, Draconids are best seen late in the evening than early in the morning.

Most of the time, this meteor shower is not very intense, although sometimes, there are bursts when several hundred meteors per hour can show in the sky. Moon is not expected to interfere with observations, so be ready to watch Draconids in the evening of 7 and 8 October.

Besides that, starting from October 9 and for the next two weeks, skywatchers of the northern hemisphere will have a chance to enjoy the so-called Zodiacal light.

This phenomenon, otherwise known as “false dawn”, is caused by solar radiation and its reflection in the cosmic dust between the planets. Thus, it will be possible to observe a pyramidal beam that looks like the lights of a distant city just above the dark horizon one hour before sunrise.

October 21, 2013, Orionid meteor shower

This year’s Orionid meteor shower is going to be a beautiful celestial show. However, it is only one of the fascinating celestial phenomena that we are expecting this October.

The annual meeting of the Earth with falling stars that look like if they were coming from the Orion constellation will start on October 21 and run until November 7.

This phenomenon will peak on 20 and 21 October, when and as scientists believe, about twenty meteors will be visible per hour. The Orionid shower is actually the remains of the famous Halley’s Comet, which enter the atmosphere of Earth at a great speed and get ignited by friction with the air.

Orionids are best observed before dawn, but this year bright moon can interfere with it. And yet, regardless of the usual maximum of 10-20 meteors per hour, one can observe the shower even at the moon because its meteors are usually quite bright.

It is expected to reach its maximum from midnight to dawn a couple of days before and after October 21. Most likely, it will be most spectacular in pre-dawn hours of October 21.

November 4-5, 2013, Southern Taurid meteor shower

The streams of the southern and northern Taurid showers are somehow scattered, which results in a longer duration: it will start on September 25 and end on November 25. However, the same reason will make it possible to see only up to 7 meteors per hour.

The maximum flow of Southern Taurid is expected during the night of 4 to 5 November, mainly after midnight. It is worthy to say that regardless of the low number of meteors, they are often very vivid.

November 11-12, 2013, Northern Taurid meteor shower

This shower will last from October 12 to December 2, but even during the peak, which is most likely to happen after midnight on November 12, only about 7 meteors per hour are expected.

November 16-18, 2013, the Leonid meteor shower

Unfortunately, the November full Moon will prevent us from enjoying the magnificent sight of this meteor shower this year. Normally the Leonids are the most eye-catching meteor shower of the year.

For example, in 1966, the meteors of this stream really looked like the rain, because in 15 minutes it was possible to observe up to several thousand meteors per minute. This year the maximum flow is likely to take place early on the morning of November 17 or 18.

Anna LeMind, B.A.

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