There's a lot to look for in the night sky starting in October.

By Kelly Vaughan
September 09, 2020

There will be more to see in nature than changing leaves and pumpkin patches galore this coming fall. Beginning in October, there will be three spectacular meteor showers taking place in the skies above us—the Draconid, Orionid, and Taurid meteor showers. First, what is a meteor shower? According to NASA, a meteor is a space rock that enters the Earth's atmosphere. The bright streak we see in the sky is actually glowing hot air caused by the rock speeding through the atmosphere; a meteor shower occurs when the Earth encounters many meteors all at once.

Meteor Showers
Credit: mdesigner125/Getty Images

In addition to a number of shooting stars that you can see throughout the month of October, a rare Dracnoid meteor shower will appear on October 7, 2020. The Dracnoid meteor showers will nearly collide with the constellation Draco the Dragon in the northern sky, which is why it will be easiest to view the meteor shower from the northern hemisphere.

Later in the month, you can view the Orionids, which exhibit a maximum of about 10 to 20 meteors per hour, according to EarthSky. Orionids can produce very bright fireballs (any meteor brighter than Venus in the night sky is considered a fireball), particularly when it peaks on October 21 and 22. On those days, the waxing crescent moon will set in the evenings, which will provide dark skies and optimal viewing conditions in the early morning hours.

Finally in November, the Taurids will be visible in both the northern and southern hemispheres beginning on November 5th and peaking between November 11 and 12. However, the North Taurids meteor shower is particularly long-lasting (you'll have a chance at spotting it anytime between October 12—December 2).


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