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North Taurid Meteor Shower Peaks Tonight

By Michele Berger
Published: November 11, 2013

The Taurid meteor shower peaks tonight after midnight. This image is from the 2012 shower. (Mike Lewinski/Flickr)

Last week, the South Taurid meteor shower peaked. Tonight it’s time for North Taurid. It will happen late in the evening tonight until dawn tomorrow, according to EarthSky.  

“Generally speaking, the North Taurid meteors are few and far between at mid-evening and tend to pick up steam around midnight,” EarthSky reports. “Best time to watch will be the hours before dawn. Expect as many as five to 10 meteors per hour.”

Tonight’s moon is in the gibbous phase, meaning the part we see is “greater than half, but not yet a full moon,” according to NASA. (The full moon, which in November is called the Beaver moon, happens next week on Nov. 17.) It’s pretty bright, too, notes Space.com. But it’s slated to set at 1:30 a.m., leaving the night sky dark — and ripe for seeing meteors.

Taurus the Bull is the namesake for this shower, because it appears to radiate from the constellation. “Every year in late October and early November … Earth passes through a river of space dust associated with Comet Encke. Tiny grains hit our atmosphere at 65,000 miles per hour,” David Asher of the Armagh Observatory in Northern Ireland told Science@NASA in 2005. “At that speed, even a tiny smidgen of dust makes a vivid streak of light — a meteor — when it disintegrates.”

Those in the Northern hemisphere have better viewing option than those in the Southern because Taurus the Bull rises higher in the sky, according to EarthSky.

Wherever you are, find a dark spot and watch for yellowish-orange balls moving slowly across the sky. Just make sure you’re not staring at an airplane. 

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