Taurid Meteors or Halloween Fireballs will light up the skies starting Oct. 30, peaking on Nov. 5 to 12. This is the longest meteor shower this year with a predicted peak of seven to a dozen meteors per hour and it can be seen anytime the constellation Taurus is above the horizon.
During this time of the year, the Earth passes through a broad stream of debris left by Comet Encke. Also called the Taurid Swarm, dust left by the comet reaches the atmosphere at 65,000 mph (nearly 105,000 kph), creating an active meteor shower.
North and South Taurids meet and combine to provide a bright sprinkling of meteors throughout October and November. The South Taurid shower peaks from late night of Nov. 4 until dawn of Nov. 5 while the peak of the North Taurid meteors is expected on late night of Nov. 12 until dawn of Nov. 13.
"Every year, the Earth passes through a stream left by Comet Encke, producing the Taurid Meteor Shower," AccuWeather Meteorologist Dave Samuhel said.
"This shower is notorious for producing fireballs, and there are signs that this could be a year of enhanced activity," Samuhel added.
The meteor shower can peak after midnight when the constellation Taurus is high and bright in the sky. When the South Taurid meteors are traced backwards, they appear to come from the constellation and this makes them easy to spot between midnight and dawn.
According to NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office, people should not be surprised if they spot bright skies with fireballs in the next few nights.
The best time to spot the shower is on the night of Nov. 11 as the moon will be new offering darker skies, making the meteors appear brighter. Scientists say that Taurid showers are slower than other meteor events in the sky, making them easier to see especially for novice spectators.
Before the year ends, scientists are expecting two more meteor showers. The Leonid meteor shower, which radiates from the constellation Leo, produce some of the greatest meteor storms in history. In fact, in 1966, it created the greatest meteor shower with as many as thousands of meteors per minute and it lasted for about 15 minutes. Its peak expected to happen on late night of Nov. 17 until dawn of Nov. 18.
In December, the Geminid meteor shower is expected as it radiates from the stars Castor and Pollux in the constellation Gemini.
Photo: Mike Lewinski | Flickr