Taurid fireballs light up November!

The Taurid meteor showers light up the night sky this November – starting this week!

south-taurid-meteor-night-sky-chart
Image courtesy of EarthSky.org

Remnants of Encke’s Comet, the Taurids are so named because they appear to come from the constellation Taurus. These meteors ome in two spurts: the north Taurids and the south Taurids. The south Taurids peak this Thursday and Friday, but you can start seeing fireballs already! If you’re in the northeast of the US, you’re viewing might be blocked by cloud cover. Don’t worry though, the viewing is still good on Wednesday and the current predictions shows super clear skies. Combine that with the waning moon and you shouldn’t have problems seeing four-to-seven per hour. To find them, look just to the right of the Pleiades.

Image courtesy of EarthSky.org
Image courtesy of EarthSky.org

North Taurids begin to peak the week after, November 11th & 12th. I haven’t seen any weather forecasts for that far in advance yet, but you can see seven-to-twenty per hour thanks to the enveloping darkness provided by the New Moon.

Before you scoff and dismiss the Taurids for having so few meteors-per-hour, remember that this is “fireball” shower. Typically, meteors fall to Earth at a speed of approximately 70km per second. They fall fast and burn up quickly. But the Taurids fall much slower at a rate of 27km per second. As a result, they streak slowly and burn bright. Some folks have complained that they are so bright that they reset your acclimated night vision. A truly spectacular display, not to be missed!

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