Switzerland to be treated to a week of stunning meteor showers
Starting on October 5, Switzerland will be treated to a whole week of stunning meteor showers. The Camelopardalis, Draconids, Taurids and Orionids will all be in the skies above Swiss cities and cantons between October 5 and 10, 2023.
Meteor showers coming to Switzerland this October
As the country continues to bask in strangely warm October temperatures, conditions are perfect for budding stargazers to try and catch a glimpse of four separate meteor showers that are due to pass over Switzerland over the next week. For those who missed the impressive Perseids meteor shower in August, the coming few days are shaping up to be a great time to see one of the wonders of the cosmos.
Camelopardalis to peak over Swiss towns and cities
First, the alpine nation will play host to the Camelopardalis - try saying that five times in a row - a meteor shower first discovered in 2005 and named after the ancient Greek word for giraffe. These meteors promise to be faint but radiant, resembling a bright stream in the night sky.
To catch a glimpse of the meteor shower, stargazers should look to the area of space between the Big Dipper, Cassiopeia and the Polar Star. Be quick though, as this shower will only be visible on the nights of October 5 and 6.
Draconids meteor shower to peak on October 9
Next, the Draconids meteor shower will be visible in Switzerland from October 6 to 10, peaking on the night of October 9. The shower, named after the Draco constellation that they radiate from, has the potential to shoot tens of thousands of meteors across the night sky - although an event of that magnitude last occurred in 1946.
To get the best view of the Draconids, be sure to look towards the Polar Star. As they are comparatively slow meteors, they should be easy enough to see so long as conditions are favourable.
Southern Taurids in Switzerland this October
The end of the Draconids will be followed by the Southern Taurids, which should peak between October 10 and 13. The shower is created by the debris field left by Encke’s comet, and some believe that a larger meteor from the Taurids shower caused the Tunguska event in 1908 - something that flattened 2.150 kilometres square metres of Russian forest.
Of course, a meteor of that size will not be arriving in Zurich anytime soon, but around five significantly smaller meteors should be visible each hour as they emerge from near Betelgeuse. MeteoNews added that the Taurids can be quite spectacular, known for their “fireball or flare”-like streams across the night sky. For those who missed this shower, don’t worry, the Southern Taurids should peak again on November 5.
Fast-flying Orionids to arrive in Switzerland and peak on October 21
Finally, the Orionids will also be coating the inky black with shooting stars from October 2 to November 7, meaning that four separate meteor showers should be present in the night sky in just one week. The Orionids originate from Halley’s comet, radiating from the vicinity of Betelgeuse.
Unlike the previous meteor showers, the Orionids are very fast - travelling at 60 kilometres a second - so they may be trickier to see. For the best chance of seeing them, it’s best to wait for the peak of the shower on October 21.
Light pollution and weather looking good for stargazing in Switzerland
Of course, to see the meteor showers in Switzerland this October, light pollution levels and the weather need to be perfect. In terms of light pollution, the moon is set to be a dim-waning crescent for most of next week, so conditions should be ideal for stargazing. Be sure to get out of Swiss cities and to places with little light pollution for your best chance to see the meteors.
Then there is the weather, which at the time of writing should be okay across the country. While a few scattered clouds are forecast for northern, central and eastern areas, the clearest conditions are expected along Lake Geneva in Vaud and in the mountains, which should be the ideal place to catch a glimpse of one of the wonders of the cosmos.