The Draconid meteor shower will peak this week, so wrap yourself up in something warm, go outside, look up, and hope for clear skies!
Occurring yearly between October 6-10, it's expected to peak the evening of October 8, but October 7 may be more favorable this year. The celestial spectacle is extremely variable when it comes to how many shooting stars you may see, and even which day it peaks, so don't expect a spectacular show, but patient viewers should be rewarded.
While often considered a minor shower – you can expect around five meteors an hour – it has been one of the most active over recent years, reaching a spectacular 1,000 meteors per hour several times across the 20th century. More recently, the shower put on particularly good shows in 2005, 2011, and 2012, with up to 600 seen an hour.
Most meteor showers are best in the early hours of the morning but to catch the Draconids, try to find a dark spot in the hours after dusk, when they will be best seen. It's worth spending 15 minutes or so letting your eyes adjust to the dark. The Draconids radiate from the constellation Draco the Dragon, but you don't have to look in that direction, as the meteors will shoot across the sky in every direction. The waning gibbous Moon will rise mid-to-late evening, giving you a good few hours of dark skies before it outshines the brighter meteors.
The shower is caused by Earth crossing the path of the debris left over from the periodic comet 21P/Giacobini-Zinner, which orbits the Sun every 6.6 years. The most intense showers happen after the comet has come close to Earth's orbit, so 2020 is not expected to be exceptional. The comet won't be back in the inner Solar System until 2025, so we will have to content ourselves with fewer ones this year.
However, if you can't catch the Draconids this week, worry not – the Orionids meteor shower will peak in just two weeks' time.