Draconid meteor shower: See stars 'fly throughout the sky' when the 'dragon' sparks

Stargazers are in for a treat this week: The Draconid meteor shower is expected to peak Friday.

Researchers say stargazers will have a clear, ideal view of the meteor shower this year, thanks to the crescent moon. The thin, waxing moon is expected to set before nightfall – a perfect time, because the meteors are best viewed when it becomes dark, according the American Meteor Society.

The Draconid meteor shower, also known as the Giacobinids, appears every October, but unlike most meteor showers, it occurs earlier in the night. The shower is capable of spewing hundreds of meteors per hour. In 2011, European stargazers witnessed more than 600 meteors an hour.

In 1933 and 1946, the shower actually produced thousands of meteors an hour. But that kind of show is the exception. Usually, the Draconid will produce a few flying meteors an hour.

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So where did the name Draconid come from? The radius of the showers is similar to the head of the Draco the Dragon constellation. The Draconid showers are best viewed from the Northern Hemisphere.

Luckily, the stars fly "all throughout the sky," so finding the exact constellation coordinates isn't needed, according to EarthSky.

A Draconid meteor and Northern Lights are seen near Skekarsbo, Sweden, on Oct. 8, 2011.

If you miss the Draconid showers, you can catch the Orionid showers, which start in October and last until early November. The Orionid meteor shower will take place between Oct. 2 and Nov. 7. It will peak in the early morning of Oct. 21.

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