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Draconid meteor shower to play starring role tonight

Anyone up for viewing some shooting stars? Tuesday night sounds like a good bet to see the Draconid meteor shower at its peak.

That's thanks to a crescent moon and a night sky expected to be mostly clear, said Bill Bogardus, president of the Custer Institute and Observatory in Southold.

And, no worries with this being a school night. The meteors appear to emanate from the constellation Draco (meaning dragon), and thanks to its position in the sky, the meteor shower can be seen shortly after the sun sets, as opposed to primarily in the wee hours of the morning.

The weather is expected to cooperate, with the night sky "likely to be mostly clear," with the possibility of "some very high clouds intermittently," said David Stark, meteorologist with the National Weather Service, based in Upton.

Bogardus said that 7:30 p.m. should be "sufficiently dark," and after 9 p.m. "very dark." Seek out a dark and wide-open space, he said, with one option being the grounds of the Custer Institute and Observatory.

Another tip -- scan the skies with your eyes only, he said, as watching with binoculars "limits the field of view," and you miss the meteor's arc through the sky.

Even on a night when the shooting star show is considered to be at its peak, patience is a virtue. "If you see one every couple of minutes," he said, "you're doing pretty well."

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