'Fireballs' will light Indiana's sky. Here's how to see them.
Meteors and "fireballs" will bombard the skies over the next two nights, but you might have to be awake really early to see them.
Meteors from the Draconids will fill the Earth's atmosphere tonight and into Wednesday morning and the Taurids will bring "fireballs" late Wednesday and early Thursday, said Brian Murphy, director of Butler University's Holcomb Observatory & Planetarium.
"These are our standard October meteor showers," Murphy said, noting they are considered "minor" because only about 10 to 20 shooting stars are typically visible per hour.
The Draconids, which radiate from the constellation Draco, have been known to produce outbursts with many more meteors than expected.
Last year, observers in France and Poland reported seeing hundreds of Draconids meteors per hour at its peak, according to the International Meteor Organization.
Scientists aren't expecting a huge show this year, but EarthSky.org said no one knows for sure.
"For people who enjoy meteor showers, that’s part of the fun," EarthSky.org's Bruce McClure and Deborah Byrd wrote. "As a wise person once said, meteor showers are like fishing. You go, and sometimes you catch something."
While the Draconids produce outbursts, Murphy said the Taurids heading our way on Wednesday night are known for "fireballs."
These "very, very bright meteors" burn burn brightly as they fall to Earth, Murphy said. They begin as bigger pieces of floating rock that move very fast, about 10 to 15 miles per second, before they disintegrate in the upper atmosphere.
Get to the country, far away from the city lights, for a better chance to see either of these showers, Murphy said.
"You'll see three-to-five times as many in a dark rural area than in Indianapolis," Murphy said.
There's a bright moon in the sky, which means it will be easier to see Fireball at the liquor store than in the sky.
Murphy said the best chances of seeing the meteor showers for Hoosiers should be after the moon sets about 3:30 a.m. and before sunrise at about 6 a.m.
The International Space Station will be much easier to see tonight and Wednesday, but only for a span of about six minutes.
"It's brighter than everything else in the sky other than the moon," Murphy said.
The International Space Station should be very easy to spot beginning a few minutes before 8 p.m. to a few minutes after 8 p.m. tonight and Wednesday, Murphy said.
The weather should cooperate, according to the National Weather Service in Indianapolis. Expect clear skies with a low of 46 degrees tonight and partly cloudy with a low of 53 degrees on Wednesday night.
Contact IndyStar reporter Vic Ryckaert at 317-444-2701 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter: @VicRyc.