The Draconid Meteor Shower peaks this evening, and the absence of the Moon allows star gazers dark skies to catch this minor event, most years producing fewer than 10 per hour. Occasional bursts hundreds per hour have occurred when their parent comet, Giacobini-Zinner, swings through the inner Solar System every 6.6 years, next in 2025.
If you are up and going early tomorrow morning, be sure to look to the east-southeast from 5:30 to 6 o’clock. Unmistakeable will be a thinning Crescent Moon to the upper left of the stunning Venus. Looking more carefully between them, the star Regulus struggles in between their glow, 250 times less bright than the our neighboring planet.
As Columbus Day transitions more and more to a celebration of indigenous people, we can look to the northeastern horizon just after 8 o’clock, where we can watch the Seven Starry Dancers rise, known also as the Seven Sisters, or the Pleiades. This smudge of stars, well right of the bright star Capella, recalls the Onondaga people’s story of seven boys who neglect their chores, and dance all the way into the heavens.