Stunning Hunter's full moon and Draconid meteor shower to light up the sky tonight

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By stefan armitage

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Stargazers will be over-the-moon this evening, as the night sky is set to be illuminated by the Hunter's full moon and the conclusion of the Draconid meteor shower.

According to the US Naval Observatory’s Astronomical Applications Department, per CNN, tonight's Hunter's full moon is set to reach its peak illumination at around 5:00PM (ET). That means those in the US will have to wait a little longer for moonrise, which is set to take place shortly after 7:00PM on the east coast.

While this certainly isn't the only full moon to take place this year, it is unlike another you will see.

TimeOut reports that the full Hunter's moon can often appear to have an orange hue and appear larger than usual for around 15 minutes.

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A full Hunter's moon. Credit: Painting With Needles / Stockimo / Alamy

According to the Old Farmer's Almanac the name "Hunter's moon" comes from the fact that this particular full moon used to be a natural signal for the time to start hunting in preparation for the cold winter ahead.

After farmers had "cleaned out their fields under the Harvest Moon", it was the ideal time for hunters to track down deer and other animals, who were fattening up in an effort to survive the cold winter months.

The site adds that the earliest used of the name "Hunter's Moon" is from 1710.

Amazingly, tonight's full Hunter's moon also coincides with the Draconid meteor shower.

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The Draconid meteor shower: Credit: PA Images / Alamy

This particular meteor shower started on October 6, and although the Draconid meteor shower peaked last night, it is still expected that some lucky stargazers will be able to see some meteors entering the Earth's atmosphere.

Per EarthSky: "This annual meteor shower happens when Earth in its orbit crosses the orbital path of Comet 21P/Giacobini-Zinner. Debris left behind by this comet collides with the Earth's upper atmosphere, to burn up as Draconid meteors. This comet has an orbital period of about 6.6 years."

The meteor shower got its name due to the fact that the fireballs appear to originate from the dragon of the Draco constellation, per Space.com.

However, the Hunter's full moon may obscure and outshine the falling Draconids - but it is certainly worth keeping your eyes open just in case.

At its peak, you can usually expect to see around 10 meteors per hour during the Draconid meteor shower. However, EarthSky reports that there have been some years where people have recorded seeing hundreds of meteors every hour.

So grab a blanket and a mug of hot cocoa, because this is one out-of-this-world show you won't want to miss.

Featured image credit: Chayanan Phumsukwisit / Alamy

Stunning Hunter's full moon and Draconid meteor shower to light up the sky tonight

vt-author-image

By stefan armitage

Article saved!Article saved!

Stargazers will be over-the-moon this evening, as the night sky is set to be illuminated by the Hunter's full moon and the conclusion of the Draconid meteor shower.

According to the US Naval Observatory’s Astronomical Applications Department, per CNN, tonight's Hunter's full moon is set to reach its peak illumination at around 5:00PM (ET). That means those in the US will have to wait a little longer for moonrise, which is set to take place shortly after 7:00PM on the east coast.

While this certainly isn't the only full moon to take place this year, it is unlike another you will see.

TimeOut reports that the full Hunter's moon can often appear to have an orange hue and appear larger than usual for around 15 minutes.

size-full wp-image-1263172551
A full Hunter's moon. Credit: Painting With Needles / Stockimo / Alamy

According to the Old Farmer's Almanac the name "Hunter's moon" comes from the fact that this particular full moon used to be a natural signal for the time to start hunting in preparation for the cold winter ahead.

After farmers had "cleaned out their fields under the Harvest Moon", it was the ideal time for hunters to track down deer and other animals, who were fattening up in an effort to survive the cold winter months.

The site adds that the earliest used of the name "Hunter's Moon" is from 1710.

Amazingly, tonight's full Hunter's moon also coincides with the Draconid meteor shower.

size-large wp-image-1263172553
The Draconid meteor shower: Credit: PA Images / Alamy

This particular meteor shower started on October 6, and although the Draconid meteor shower peaked last night, it is still expected that some lucky stargazers will be able to see some meteors entering the Earth's atmosphere.

Per EarthSky: "This annual meteor shower happens when Earth in its orbit crosses the orbital path of Comet 21P/Giacobini-Zinner. Debris left behind by this comet collides with the Earth's upper atmosphere, to burn up as Draconid meteors. This comet has an orbital period of about 6.6 years."

The meteor shower got its name due to the fact that the fireballs appear to originate from the dragon of the Draco constellation, per Space.com.

However, the Hunter's full moon may obscure and outshine the falling Draconids - but it is certainly worth keeping your eyes open just in case.

At its peak, you can usually expect to see around 10 meteors per hour during the Draconid meteor shower. However, EarthSky reports that there have been some years where people have recorded seeing hundreds of meteors every hour.

So grab a blanket and a mug of hot cocoa, because this is one out-of-this-world show you won't want to miss.

Featured image credit: Chayanan Phumsukwisit / Alamy