Two meteor showers peak on consecutive nights

Orionid Meteor Shower (Photo: Mike Lewinski / CC BY 2.0)

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WPDE) — Two completely different meteor showers are set to peak on consecutive nights this week, including one that’s quite famous for sending very bright fireballs across the night sky.

The first, and the most famous of the two, showers is the Draconid meteor shower, set to peak on Tuesday night into Wednesday morning.

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According to the International Meteor Organization, the Draconid meteor shower is known for behaving wildly. While the shower typically only produces about 10 meteors an hour, it has had outbursts in the past where it’s far exceeded expectations. In 2018, observes in Europe saw over 140 meteors in a single hour.

The Draconid shower in 2019 is not expected to produce such an outburst this year, but onlookers may still be greeted to an hour or two of higher than normal rates if they’re looking in the right spot at the right time.

Unlike many meteor showers, where the best viewing is after midnight, the Draconid shower typically produces its greatest number of meteors prior to midnight. But this year, the shower is coinciding with a very bright moon, which may cause some difficulty for stargazers.

The second meteor shower will be the Southern Taurid’s and it will peak on Wednesday night into Thursday.

Similar to the Draconids, the Southern Taurids are a minor shower as well, meaning they may produce fewer than 10 meteors per hour.

But despite the very low meteor rates, this shower is known for producing some of the most vivid and brightest fireballs in the sky.

According to the American Meteor Society, fireballs are meteors that appear exceptionally bright in the sky, and can even produce a shadow on the ground that can last several seconds.

Unfortunately, the weather in the Carolinas may not be best for viewing the Draconid shower tonight as cloud cover is expected across the area as a cold front sweeps through. You may get better viewing on Wednesday night with the less frequent, but more intense Southern Taurids.