Three meteor showers, the Southern Taurids, Orionids and Northern Taurids, are all popping off in the sky! The Taurids are notorious for their fireballs and the Orionids remnants come from Halley’s comet.
What is a meteor?
NASA defines meteors and showers as ” A meteor is a space rock—or meteoroid—that enters Earth’s atmosphere. As the space rock falls toward Earth, the resistance—or drag—of the air on the rock makes it extremely hot. What we see is a “shooting star.” That bright streak is not actually the rock, but rather the glowing hot air as the hot rock zips through the atmosphere. When Earth encounters many meteoroids at once, we call it a meteor shower.”
How to watch
Each meteor shower can be seen from varying angles and at different times in the night. The best places to view astro activity are Dark Sky Communities, which are lands protected from light pollution. There are also stargazing sites that give great locations to view the night sky.
No matter where you are you can view these showers anywhere! Read below for specifics on each shower and how to get the best view!
September 10th – November 20th
? Watch the Southern Taurids after midnight when the sky is clear and there is no moonlight.
?Look for Taurus in the middle of the sky.
According to the American Meteor Society “The Southern Taurids are a long-lasting shower that reaches a barely noticeable maximum on October 9 or 10. The shower is active for more than two months but rarely produces more than five shower members per hour, even at maximum activity. The Taurids (both branches) are rich in fireballs and are often responsible for increased number of fireball reports from September through November. ”
October 2nd – November 7th
? Watch the Orionids in the mornings right before dawn.
? Find the shape of Orion the Hunter. The origin will be near his sword, over his left shoulder. (The star Betelgeuse.)
The American Meteor Society reports ” The Orionids are a medium strength shower that sometimes reaches high strength activity. In a normal year the Orionids produce 10-20 shower members at maximum. In exceptional years, such as 2006-2009, the peak rates were on par with the Perseids (50-75 per hour). Recent displays have produced low to average displays of this shower. ”
The Northern Taurids
October 20th – December 10th
? Watch for the Northern Taurids a few hours after midnight.
? You don’t need to find Taurus, Northern Taurids are slow moving meteors that cross many constellations.
According to the American Meteor Society “This shower is much like the Southern Taurids, just active a bit later in the year. When the two showers are active simultaneously in late October and early November, there is sometimes an notable increase in the fireball activity. There seems to be a seven year periodicity with these fireballs. 2008 and 2015 both produced remarkable fireball activity. ”
Look up and good luck!