Today and tomorrow (October 8 and 9) the sky will glow with fiery space rocks and dust during the annual Draconid meteor shower. Unfortunately, the full Moon will shine at its peak, fading after the meteor shower.
Meteor showers occur when Earth passes through clouds of rocky debris left behind by comets. Over the course of two nights, our planet will pass through millions of tiny icy rocks left by comet 21P/Giacobini-Zinner, which passes through our solar system and orbits Earth once every 6.5 years, according to NASA.
As those tiny “comet flakes” fall into Earth’s atmosphere by the thousands, some visibly catch fire and streak across the sky, officially becoming meteors. Most of these space rocks burn up long before reaching the Earth’s surface, although some may be large enough to survive the descent and hit the ground as meteors, RTSH reports.
According to NASA, in a typical year, sky watchers can expect to see 10 to 20 Draconid meteors. However, this month’s full moon is likely to shine brighter than most.
No telescope or binoculars are needed to catch the show in our planet’s atmosphere.