Taurid Meteor Showers ~ 4/5 & 11/12 November 2018

Taurid Meteor Showers ~ 4/5 & 11/12 November 2018

There are three meteor showers in November, two of which follow close on the heels of each other.

The South Taurids, which peak on 4th & 5th November; and

The North Taurids, which peak on 11th & 12th November.

The Taurids are thought to be debris from the comet Encke, which is believed to be part of a much larger comet. This larger comet has disintegrated over the past 20-30,000 years, leaving a trail of debris that is spread out over a wide area of space. This is why it takes several weeks for the Earth to pass through the debris. With two meteor showers in October and three in November, it’s a great time of the year to look for shooting stars.

The Taurid meteor showers are visible Worldwide. This year, the South Taurids peak viewing night of 4/5 November falls a few days before the New Moon, so the sky will be dark. This shower is said to peak a few hours either side of 1am on 5th November.

The Taurids are well known for their large fireball meteors, so whilst I wouldn’t want to sit out for hours waiting for meteors during this slower moving shower, I will most certainly keep looking up over the next few weeks.

If we are lucky enough to catch a fireball meteor, it is a truly amazing sight. Fireballs burn slowly and often leave huge trails, right across the sky (see above pic). Astronomers have taken to calling these meteors Halloween Fireballs. If you see one, it is likely to ruin your night vision for a few minutes afterwards.

The best time to catch the peak of the North Taurid shower is from late evening on 11 November until early morning on the 12th. Again, the moon will be in it’s waxing crescent phase, so there won’t be too much moonlight to ruin the show 🙂

The below picture shows exactly where in the sky to look. If you know your directions, look North and follow the sky round towards the North East and then East until you find Orion’s Belt. The radiant point for the Taurid meteor showers are just north of Orion, but truly, with these two Taurid showers crossing over each other, meteors could come from anywhere in the sky! If you know where the constellation Taurus is in the night sky, it should be quite high above your head around midnight and that’s also a good place to keep an eye on.


Much Love

Krissy XXX

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