The Irish night sky is likely to play host to a remarkable stellar spectacle this weekend, as the long-dormant Draconid meteor shower reaches its climax.
While the Draconids pass through the Earth’s atmosphere every seven years, it is usually at a rather unremarkable rate of 10 or 20 meteors per hour.
This year, however, astronomers predict that shooting stars will streak across the sky at a peak rate of 750 per hour, creating a dazzling display.
Unfortunately, this year’s meteor shower coincides with a full moon, which is likely to obscure all but the brightest Draconoid streaks.
Despite this, however, chairman of Astronomy Ireland, David Moore, remains optimistic that it will be a memorable show.
“We’re hoping for an outburst for this year’s Draconid meteor shower on Saturday night,” he said.
“Even with the Moon, these meteors will be bright enough to be easily seen throughout the night. Maybe we might even get a meteor ‘storm’!”
Stargazers in the US are even less likely to catch a glimpse of the meteor showers, as the pinnacle of stellar activity is due to occur within daylight hours.