The October Draconids, also identified as the Giacobinids in the past, are a meteor shower whose parent body is the periodic comet 21P/Giacobini-Zinner. The Draconid meteor shower can be observed from October 6 to 10 this year, with a peak rate of meteors around October 9 2022.

During this time, there is a possibility of seeing Draconid meteors whenever the radiant point of the shower – in the constellation Draco – exceeds the horizon, with the number of conspicuous meteors rising as the luminous point rises higher up in the sky.

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How does the Draconid meteor shower occur? 

The Draconid meteor shower is created when Earth collides with celestial debris shed by periodic comet 21P/Giacobini-Zinner.  The comet’s orbit is 6.5 years long and takes it close to Jupiter on a recurring basis. Every 6.6 years, the comet orbits the sun, leaving tendrils behind. Normally, astronomers would anticipate the planet’s strong gravitational pull to disperse anything in its path into erratic orbits. However, according to NASA, a deluge of particles ejected in 1900 is still mostly intact. The meteors originate from the constellation Draco (Dragon). The Dragon is a constellation visible all year to most people with a view of the northern sky.

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How and when to watch it? 

The shower will be visible from New Delhi each day from dusk until around 01:58 when its luminous point sets below the western horizon.

The radiant point will cumulate (reach its highest point in the sky) before night time – around 17:00 IST – the shower is likely to produce its best displays shortly after dusk, when the luminous point is still at its highest. 

At this time, the Earth’s rotation causes New Delhi to face ideally towards the path of the arriving meteors, raising the number of meteors that rain vertically downwards, leaving short trails near the radiant spot.