How to watch the Leonid and Taurid meteor showers dazzle November skies all month long

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A Leonid fireball captured over Sweden in 2015. Pooschke

Say what you’ll about 2020, it has been a blinding 12 months within the night time sky, with bright comets and plentiful meteor showers that proceed in November with the annual look of the Taurids and Leonids.

The Southern Taurid and Northern Taurid showers are lively now and have a tendency to provide a number of sizzle within the type of fireballs that gentle up the skies. The Southern Taurid department has already peaked, however can proceed to contribute to the general fireball rely. The Northern Taurids are anticipated to succeed in most exercise the night time of Nov. 11 into the next morning, according to the American Meteor Society, or AMS.

The Taurids are produced when Earth drifts by way of a cloud of particles left behind by Comet 2P/Encke round this time every year. Small chunks of mud may be seen burning up in our higher environment as “capturing stars,” whereas bigger bits of house rock can produce extra dramatic fireballs. 

In the meantime, the Leonids are simply changing into lively this week and can stick with us till the top of the month. This bathe could be traced again to the comet 55P/Tempel-Tuttle and has placed on some actual reveals over the centuries within the type of intense meteor storms that produce tons of of seen meteors per hour.

AMS says it is unlikely we’ll see such a storm in our lifetimes (the newest was in 2001), though 2030 may see a minor storm. This 12 months, the Leonids do supply the chance to see round 15 meteors per hour at peak on Nov. 16 and Nov. 17, when the tiny sliver of a moon will not produce a lot interference. The Leonids are typically fairly brilliant with some persistent trains. 

To catch any Taurids or Leonids, the very best technique is to enterprise out within the early morning pre-dawn hours as near the showers’ respective peaks as doable. Take away your self from gentle air pollution if you happen to can, gown appropriately and discover a snug place to put again with a transparent, broad view of the sky. 

Subsequent, chill out, let your eyes alter and simply watch. It isn’t essential to give attention to a selected space of the sky, however if you happen to can spot the constellations Leo and Taurus, the Leonids and Taurids will seem to originate from these components of the sky, respectively, and streak outward like spokes on a wheel.  

Get pleasure from a little bit hearth within the sky and move alongside any epic fireball images you occur to catch on Twitter @EricCMack.

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Eric Mack