Aside from Thanksgiving and Halloween, there's more for Canadians to look forward to this October. Twice this month, skies across Canada will be lit up with two epic meteor showers as they return for their yearly visit.
The first meteor shower is called the Draconids, a relatively minor event that produces about 10 meteors per hour. It is produced when the Earth passes through the dust streaks of the comet 21P Giacobini-Zinner, which was discovered in the 1900s. The meteor shower will run from October 6 and 10, with peaks occurring on October 8. Unlike most meteor showers, the Draconids is best viewed in the early evening.
The second meteor shower is called the Orionids, an average event that produces about 20 meteors per hour. It is produced by leftover dust grains from the passing comet Halley, which has circled the earth for centuries. The meteor shower will run from October 2 to November 7, with peaks occurring on the night of October 22 and the morning of October 22.
Those who wish to watch the meteor showers should consider driving out to a nearby rural town where there is less light and cloud pollution than in the city. This would help maximize their chances of seeing the light shows in their entirety.
Once out of an area blanketed by light pollution, stargazers will need at least half an hour to adapt their eyes to the dark. This means no using electronics with bright screens during that period. The best way to view a meteor shower is to lie back and look straight up into the sky, so bring blankets and hot drinks with you!
For a list of good spots for stargazing, click here.