When Is The Draconid Meteor Shower? The 2016 Celestial Event Is Coming Soon
There's something inherently magical about a shooting star, and considering the literal trash fire that we are currently inhabiting, it's not the worst idea to just organize a mass "wish upon a star" moment the next time a meteor shower rolls around. So, if you've been wondering when the Draconid Meteor Shower is for 2016, well, here's your opportunity. I will need all of you ready with wishes. Good wishes. Wishes that will make the bees stop disappearing and the Earth stop warming and a certain animated Cheeto stop espousing dangerously bigoted nonsense. Because honestly I'm out of ideas at this point.
Named for the "Draco the Dragon" constellation (yes, actually), the Draconid Meteor Shower is one of two annual showers to grace the skies in October. Though in the past it's been known to produce some seriously beautiful celestial moments, this year, on Oct. 7, the meteor shower will coincide with a First Quarter moon, making it a little more difficult to catch a glimpse of "falling stars."
Stargazers in North America, Europe and Asia are best positioned for optimal Draconids watching, though people closer to the equator in the Southern Hemisphere may see a few streaking meteors as well.
In ancient Greece, falling stars were thought to be the souls of the deceased; both Christianity and Judaism believed them to be fallen angels or demons. Ptolemy, the Greek astronomer, wrote that the gods, overcome with curiosity about the goings-on in the human realm, would sometimes peak from between the spheres of the universe and, every so often, loose their grasp on a few stars. Now, simply because of their rarity, falling stars (which, to be clear, are actually meteors), are thought to be omens of good luck. People hitch their hopes on their fiery tails.
Despite what you may assume, the best time to watch the Draconids is actually at dusk, that beautiful sweet spot between sundown and true nightfall. The watching part of a meteor is easy — like, literally, just look up. No calculations or special telescopes necessary. Spots with little light pollution or tall buildings are best, and lying directly on the ground will give you the best range of vision (and will spare your neck), but apart from those basics, and a lot of patience and faith that, with enough waiting, you'll catch a falling star, you're good. You're gold.