Draconid meteor shower 2021: When is it coming to the UK and what are the best places to see it in Sheffield
Residents in Sheffield are in for a treat this weekend as the Draconid meteor shower is set to be visible from the UK.
With winter approaching and the nights getting colder and darker, there are plenty of opportunities for stargazing in Sheffield.
But this weekend is particularly special, as it’s not just stars you’ll be able to see, it’s meteors – and possibly even hundreds of them.
And in more good news, you may not even have to stay up too late to witness the spectacular sight, as this particular shower can often be seen at much more sociable hours.
Here is everything you need to know about the Draconid meteor shower and when and where to see it in Sheffield.
What is the Draconid meteor shower?
The Draconid is an annual meteor shower which occurs every October and is also known as the Giacobinids.
Meteor showers are caused when Earth passes through a cloud of space debris from a comet, and the Draconid meteor shower is made from the debris of comet 21 P/ Giacobini-Zinner.
The shower’s radiant point is the head of the constellation Draco the Dragon, which gives it its name.
Although you would usually have to get up at (or stay up until) around 3am to watch a meteor shower, the Draconid shower can be seen at much more sociable hours and is actually best viewed in the evening.
During the shower you will be able to see hundreds of meteors every hour, so hopefully you shouldn’t miss it!
Back in 2011, more than 600 meteors were seen per hour over Europe.
When can I see the Draconid meteor shower in Sheffield?
This weekend – and in particular today, Friday October 8 and tomorrow, October 9 – will be the best time to spot the meteors above the city.
The Draconid shower should be visible from the UK until October 11, but it is set to peak on these two days, meaning now is your best chance to get a good view.
The best time to see it is from early evening through to nightfall, when Draco the Dragon is at its highest point in the sky.
Where are the best places to view the Draconid meteor shower in Sheffield?
Sheffield is filled with plenty of open spaces and high points where you should be able to get a great view of the meteor shower.
Although the city is busy and full of lights and tall buildings, we are lucky enough to be surrounded by parks and nature reserves, as well as having the Peak District on our doorstep.
One of the most popular spots in Sheffield to stargaze, watch the sunset – and now watch a meteor shower – has always been Bolehill Recreation Ground, between Walkley and Crookes.
Its high location and stunning views over the valley towards Stannington make it the perfect spot to watch the sky, and it is away from the city centre so there is little light pollution, meaning you should get a clear view.
Meersbrook Park also boasts some of the best views of the Steel City, so should make a good spot to see the meteor shower.
Skye Edge near Manor Lodge is one of the highest points of the city, making it another good option, alongside Norfolk Park and the Cholera Monument near Park Hill.
You could also head up to Parkwood Springs, the old ski village, to take in some impressive views of the city as well as the Draconid meteors.
If you are looking for somewhere a little quieter where it will be particularly dark then Redmires Reservoirs in Fulwood could be the perfect option.
And if you’re willing to head further afield into the Peaks, then Monsal Head, Millstone Edge or Stanage Edge offer breathtaking views and wide open skies.