Draconid meteor shower 2023: when it peaks in London and how to watch

Always wanted to wish upon a shooting star? Well, Londoners, now’s your chance. The mesmerising Draconids meteor shower is set to peak over London this week. 

The shower originates from a constellation named after Draco the dragon and occurs when tiny pieces of debris burn up in the planet’s atmosphere. It’s not considered a ‘busy’ shower, with about five shooting stars expected to be visible per hour. 

The shower will begin on October 6 (in other words, tomorrow) and last October 10. Here is everything you need to know about how, where and when to watch the meteor shower in London, from its peak to the best viewing spots. 

When does the Draconid meteor shower peak? 

The shower is due to peak on October 8 and 9, and again later in the month, on October 21 and 22. 

How to see the Draconid meteor shower in London

You’ll need to find a spot with the clearest possible view of the stars. You’ll want dark skies with little light pollution and an unobstructed horizon. However, unlike other meteor showers which are typically most visible after midnight, the Draconids will be at their most visible just after dark, at around 8pm. 

Also, NASA recommends allowing your eyes to adjust to the darkness as much as possible before the shower begins, for at least 20 minutes. So, avoid phone screens and bright lights as much as you can. 

Where are the best spots to try and catch the meteor shower in London? 

The Royal Observatory in Greenwich, Ruislip Lido, Primrose Hill and Blackheath Common have been suggested as good places to try and catch the meteor shower by News Shopper. But if your local park is high up and the skies are clear, that could be a good place to try too. 

What causes the Draconid meteor shower? 

Meteor showers occur when the Earth moves through a patch of ‘cometary debris’. Comet crumbs, basically. The teeny-tiny meteorites burn up as they enter the Earth’s atmosphere, creating ‘shooting stars.’

These wondrous displays can actually be caused by particles as small as a grain of sand, according to Royal Museums Greenwich. The showers originate from the Draco constellation, debris from a comet with the catchy name of 21 P/ Giacobini-Zinner. 

Do the Draconids have astrological significance?

According to astrologer Kyle Thomas, meteor showers aren’t as astrologically significant as new moons or full moons, but witnessing one is apparently indicative of good fortune – what better way to make a wish than on a shooting star, after all?

You could be in luck if you’re an Aquarius, though. The Draconids shower happens within the Aquarius constellation, and aligns closely with the star sign’s ideas of ‘aspirations, hopes and dreams.’ 

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