Taurids Meteor Shower: November 4, 5


The Taurids is a long-running minor meteor shower producing only about 5-10 meteors per hour. It is unusual in that it consists of two separate streams. The first is produced by dust grains from Asteroid 2004 TG10. The second stream is produced by debris left behind by Comet 2P Encke. The shower runs annually from September 7 to December 10. It peaks this year on the the night of November 4. This is an excellent year  because there will be no moonlight to spoil the show. Best viewing will be just after midnight from a dark location far away from city lights. Meteors will radiate from the constellation Taurus, but can appear anywhere in the sky.

The expected peak will fall on the night of November 11-12 (late evening on Monday, November 11, until the wee morning hours on Tuesday, November 12). But by then, a larger and brighter waxing gibbous moon won’t set until a few hours after midnight. If you’re blessed with clear nights this weekend, take advantage of them because you’ll have more moon-free viewing time than early next week!

Although the North Taurid meteor shower is not expected to peak until early next week, the meteor rates may be comparable throughout the weekend. In a dark sky, you might see up to 10 meteors per hour. This shower favors the Northern Hemisphere, but no matter where you live worldwide, the best viewing hours are usually in the wee hours just after midnight.