Why This Year's Taurids May Be Better Than Ever

Taurid's fireballs will be extra-enhanced by lack of full moon, dense debris field
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 5, 2015 9:11 AM CST

Every year the Earth passes through the debris left behind by Comet Encke, and it's that time of year again, which means just one thing: Get ready for the fireballs. That's what you could see in the night sky over the next week or so as the Taurid meteor shower makes its annual appearance, USA Today reports. The cosmic show, which can be viewed anytime from late October through the end of this month, is set to peak from Thursday to Nov. 12 and will be visible to US viewers. And Mother Nature Network notes this could be one of the best displays ever, thanks to an atypically heavy debris field from the comet—meaning more of the shooting stars than usual—and the lack of a full moon. An AccuWeather meteorologist notes that viewers typically see up to 10 meteors per hour.

How the fireballs come about: As the Encke comet orbits the sun, it leaves a trail of dust and ice particles, per USA Today. As our planet moves through that debris field, the particles zip through our atmosphere at up to 65,000mph, burning up and resulting in the spectacular trails we see in the sky. (The fireball seen in this video is said to have been recorded in Bangkok earlier this week.) With this particular meteor shower, they appear to emerge from the Taurus constellation: The South Taurids, seen south of the star pattern, peak Thursday night; the North Taurids peak Nov. 12, Space.com reports. The best time to catch a peek: After midnight, when there's little moonlight and Taurus is high up above. If you miss them, don't fret: The even more eye-catching Leonid shower is right on the Taurids' tail, due to peak around Nov. 17, USA Today notes. (More meteor shower stories.)

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