ENVIRONMENT

Meteor shower streaking across night sky this weekend

Nov 11, 2023, 12:00 PM | Updated: 12:10 pm

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Once evening falls Sunday, expect to see a meteor, or a "shooting star," streaking across the sky every few minutes. The meteor shower will peak overnight into Monday, with 70 meteors visible each hour, according to the Royal Astronomical Society.

SALT LAKE  CITY — Look for fireballs and shooting stars in the night sky as a meteor shower burns overhead over the weekend and into Monday.

The Northern Taurid meteor shower will peak Nov. 11, 12 and 13; active until Dec. 2.

The Southern Taurids peaked last weekend — Nov. 4 and Nov. 5 — but are still active through Dec. 8.             

As the moon will only be 2% illuminated, viewing conditions for the 2023 Taurid meteor showers are good, according to Space.com, which reports Taurid meteors tend to be larger than other meteors and can survive for longer periods as they pass through Earth’s atmosphere.

Meteor shower near you

The shooting stars will be visible all over the southern night sky beside the constellation of Orion; take in as much sky as possible and observe from an open field, advises Space.com.

The best time to watch the Taurids is about midnight, around Nov. 13 when the moon won’t interfere, according to EarthSky, which adds that under dark skies with no moon, both the South and North Taurid meteor showers produce about five meteors per hour (10 total when overlapping). 

Widely referred to as shooting stars, meteors are generated when debris enters and burns up in Earth’s atmosphere. Taurids are thought to be debris left behind by Encke’s comet, according to NASA.

Each time comet Encke returns to the inner solar system, its nucleus sheds ice and rock into a vast debris stream. When Earth passes through the debris, the “comet crumbs” heat up as they enter Earth’s atmosphere and burn up in bright bursts of light, streaking a vivid path across the sky, reported by Space.com

The best instrument to observe the Taurids is the human eye. Allow your eyes 20 to 30 minutes to adjust to the darkest sky you can find.

Related

Why you could see rare fireballs during a meteor shower this week

Tips for watching meteor showers

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Meteor shower streaking across night sky this weekend