The Draconid and Southern Taurid Meteor Showers Peak Tonight and Tomorrow

Eshma/iStock via Getty Images
Eshma/iStock via Getty Images

This week, you have two phenomenal opportunities to see a meteor shower light up the night sky. Here's how to catch a glimpse of the Draconids and Southern Taurids.

When to See the Draconid Meteor Shower

First up is the Draconid shower, which happens annually when Earth crosses the orbit of Comet21P/Giacobini-Zinner, and the comet's debris transforms into meteors when it hits Earth’s atmosphere. Draconid refers to the appearance of the meteors near the head of the constellation Draco the dragon. According to EarthSky, the shower is also sometimes referred to as the Giacobinids—after Michel Giacobini, who discovered the comet in 1900.

The shower will peak Tuesday, October 8, into the following morning, and your best chance to spot a few meteors is right at nightfall. USA Today reports that since the meteors will be competing with the light from the moon, you should focus your gaze on an empty patch of sky.

When Comet21P/Giacobini-Zinner reaches its closest point to the sun, or perihelion, the number of meteors can sometimes reach the hundreds or even thousands. Since its most recent perihelion was just last year—and its next one won’t come until 2025—EarthSky predicts that this year’s orbital intersection will produce just about five meteors per hour.

When to See the Southern Taurid Meteor Shower

If you miss the Draconids’ display on Tuesday night, you can try again on Wednesday at nightfall with the Southern Taurids. Although the Taurids—referring to their proximity to the constellation Taurus—won’t likely amount to many more meteors per hour than the Draconids, the meteors themselves might be more noticeable. According to the American Meteor Society, the Taurids are “rich in fireballs,” which are such large, brilliant meteors that they can even cast shadows on the ground.

And, if the meteors manage to escape your line of sight altogether this week, don’t worry: The Orionid meteor shower is on its way later this month, followed by the Leonids in November and the Geminids in December.

[h/t USA Today]

This Smart Accessory Converts Your Instant Pot Into an Air Fryer

Amazon
Amazon

If you can make a recipe in a slow cooker, Dutch oven, or rice cooker, you can likely adapt it for an Instant Pot. Now, this all-in-one cooker can be converted into an air fryer with one handy accessory.

This Instant Pot air fryer lid—currently available on Amazon for $80—adds six new cooking functions to your 6-quart Instant Pot. You can select the air fry setting to get food hot and crispy fast, using as little as 2 tablespoons of oil. Other options include roast, bake, broil, dehydrate, and reheat.

Many dishes you would prepare in the oven or on the stovetop can be made in your Instant Pot when you switch out the lids. Chicken wings, French fries, and onion rings are just a few of the possibilities mentioned in the product description. And if you're used to frying being a hot, arduous process, this lid works without consuming a ton of energy or heating up your kitchen.

The lid comes with a multi-level air fry basket, a broiling and dehydrating tray, and a protective pad and storage cover. Check it out on Amazon.

For more clever ways to use your Instant Pot, take a look at these recipes.

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Look Up! June’s Strawberry Moon Will Light Up Skies Friday Night

Nathaniel Taylor/iStock via Getty Images
Nathaniel Taylor/iStock via Getty Images

If you're looking for an outdoor activity to ring in the summer months, look up at the sky this Friday. As USA Today reports, a strawberry moon—a.k.a. June's full moon—will reach peak visibility the afternoon of June 5 and light up skies throughout the night. Here's everything you need to know to catch the celestial event.

Why Is It Called a Strawberry Moon?

Each month's full moon has a special name that's tied to the time of year when it appears. June is the start of strawberry-picking season in parts of North America, which has earned it the sweet nickname among some Native American tribes. June's full moon is also known as the honey moon or the full rose moon in Europe.

Some years the strawberry moon marks the first full moon of summer, but the summer solstice will still be a couple of weeks off when this one shows up. In some parts of the country, warmer weather has already arrived, which makes the strawberry moon a great excuse to kick off your summer sky-gazing season early.

When to Watch the Strawberry Moon

In 2020, the strawberry moon will reach its fullest state at 3:12 p.m. EDT on Friday, June 5. If you're in North America, the moon won't be visible until later in the evening, but it will still look full and bright even after it's passed its peak. At moonrise, which occurs roughly around 8:30 p.m. along the East Coast tonight, the moon will emerge in the east and continue to hug the horizon as it moves through the night sky.

The strawberry moon isn't pink as its name suggests, but it is the most colorful moon of the lunar calendar. Because it never rises too far above the horizon, its light gets filtered by more of the atmosphere, making it look orange or yellow from your backyard.

[h/t USA Today]