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Draconid meteor shower peaks tonight in beautiful celestial display

October offers to stargazers a celestial treat, with both the forthcoming solar eclipse and the Hunter’s Moon on the horizon. However, it’s also a month where shooting stars will soar through the skies due to two active meteor showers, with the Draconids coming up first.

Draconids and Orionids 

The Draconids set the stage for the month’s stellar events, commencing on October 6, peaking around October 8-9, and concluding on October 10. Later in the month, the Orionids will reach their peak around October 21-22. 

Fortunately, for those eager to witness the meteor shower, the moon will be in its new moon phase. This means that minimal light interference will allow the Draconids to shine brightly.

Originating from the Draco constellation, the Draconids have, on occasion, given birth to meteor storms, showering the night with tens of thousands of stars. However, such a spectacular event has not occurred since 1946.

The constellation Draco 

The Draconid meteor shower is rooted in the remnants of the comet 21P/Giacobini-Zinner. This comet, discovered in 1900 by Michel Giacobini, measures a mere 1.24 miles across and completes its orbit around the sun roughly every 6.6 years.

According to Anna Gammon-Ross, an expert at the Royal Observatory Greenwich, the Draconid meteor shower derives its name from the constellation Draco (Latin for the dragon). 

“This is because, although meteors can be seen all over the sky, they all appear to emerge or radiate from a single point lying within this constellation,” she explained.

Remnants of the comet 21P/Giacobini-Zinner

The Draconid spectacle is a result of the Earth passing through the remnants left behind by the comet 21P/Giacobini-Zinner. As Gammon-Ross points out, these fragments combust approximately 50 miles above our planet, rendering the event safe for Earth’s inhabitants.

Shooting stars, or meteor showers, are the result of minuscule particles, sometimes as small as a grain of sand, igniting upon entry into the Earth’s atmosphere. If any of these larger fragments endure the blazing descent and manage to reach the Earth’s crust, they earn the title of “meteorite.”

Meteor storm

While the Draconid meteor shower might not be the most populated display of the calendar, its distinctiveness lies in its capacity to evolve into a meteor storm. During such rare phenomena, viewers might behold more than a thousand meteors painting the sky.

Wish on a star

Although meteor showers have a variety of astrological connections, according to astrologer Kyle Thomas they “don’t have exact astrological relevance” akin to new moons and full moons. However, as he puts it, “seeing a meteor shower or shooting star is always indicative of luck, synchronicity, and good fortune.”

“The reason people believe to ‘wish on a shooting star’ is because it has been said for many years throughout time that these moments are rare, thus giving someone a boost of luck,” said Thomas, an enthusiast of mythology and astrology since his early years.

Astrological meaning 

Moreover, the constellation from which meteor showers seem to emanate adds another layer of astrological meaning. 

Compared to the moon’s phases, meteor showers do not bear the same specific zodiac relevance. However, they offer a unique esoteric lens through which they can be interpreted. 

Often, the Draconids are linked with the Aquarius constellation, offering another method to interpret a shooting star’s zodiac significance. Given the Draconids’ association with Aquarius, Thomas argues that themes such as “the future, community, aspirations, hopes, dreams, freedom and revolution” resonate closely with this astronomical event.

Mythological meaning 

Moreover, Thomas notes that Draco has a mythological meaning of “protection,” particularly concerning “hidden treasures.” While such treasures can be tangible, like monetary riches, they can also be intangible, representing wisdom. Thus, the Draconids could guide individuals to unearth the “hidden treasure” they seek.

With his rich background in mythology, Thomas shares fascinating insights into Draco as a constellation, historically symbolized as a dragon, serpent, or snake. Tracing back to ancient civilizations, Thomas argued that the Babylonians revered this constellation. 

Later on, Christian tales link it to the Garden of Eden’s serpent, and for the Egyptians, it signifies the crocodile that consumed those burdened by guilt. Finally, for the Greeks, Draco protected the golden apples in the Garden of Hesperides. In symbolic terms, Draco embodies themes of guardianship, representing creation, annihilation, and timelessness.

Magnificent spectacle 

Whether or not amateur and professional stargazers are interested in such astrological connections, the Draconid shower promises a magnificent spectacle during the following nights. 

To increase the chances of spotting the meteor shower, people should look for a dark area of clear sky and allow around 20 minutes to let their eyes adapt to the dark. 

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