Southern Taurid meteor shower: Watch fireballs in the sky when they peak this weekend

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A meteor from one of the Taurid meteor shower creates a bright streak across the night sky over Brkinje, Slovenia, in November 2015. In 2023, the southern Taurid meteors will peak on the evening of Sunday, November 5.

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The first branch of the Taurid meteor shower is set to peak this weekend, offering a tempting opportunity for patient skywatchers.

The Southern Taurid meteors have been shining brightly across the night sky since late September, but at the peak — expected at 8:47 PM ET on Sunday — is when people will have the best chance to catch a glimpse. According to the American Meteor Society.

While the frequency of the southern eruptions usually has only five meteors per hour, the shower is known to be rich in fireballs, a term given to a meteor that appears brighter than the planet Venus. According to NASA. Venus is the second brightest celestial body in the night sky after the Moon.

“Meteorites are part of the night sky and are out of the ordinary for people,” said Bill Cook, head of NASA’s Meteoroid Environment Office. “You go outside, and you see the stars, you see the moon, you see the planets — those are always there…but you don’t always see meteors. Meteors are a temporary part of the night sky, and people are fascinated by that.”

Local weather conditions, if you allow, the best time to go out to look at the meteor would be after midnight in any time zone, but be prepared to stay a while if you’re determined to see one, Cook said. So far, NASA’s meteor cameras have only captured about one or two torians per night, he said.

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Around the shower’s peak, the moon will be approximately 44% half full, according to the American Meteor Society. This level of moonlight can cause disturbance when viewing faint meteors, but since theorites tend to be very bright, the moon likely won’t interfere, Cook said.

“You should look away from the moon but there is no preferred direction – just try to capture as much of the sky as possible,” Cook advises. “And use your eyes. You don’t want to use a telescope to observe a meteor shower; the field of view is too small.”

Most meteor showers feature meteors that are only millimeters long, but thoreoid meteors can be impressively 1 meter (3 feet) long, making them appear extremely bright as they burn up in Earth’s atmosphere, Cook said.

Even with its larger size, most… Space rocks The resulting meteorites won’t reach Earth, but if they do, the resulting meteorites — the term given to a meteorite that hits Earth — will break up into smaller pieces and won’t be large enough to cause any damage, Cook said.

The Southern Taurids originate from Comet Encke, which orbits the Sun with the shortest orbit of all known comets in the Solar System. According to NASA. Enki’s orbital period is about 3.3 years, and the comet was last seen from Earth on October 22, When he was at perihelion, or the closest point to the sun.

During its journey, the comet leaves behind a trail of debris that appears in the form of the Taurus Southern meteor shower when the Earth’s orbit intersects its path. Although parent comet Torrid South was nearby recently, this shower is expected to produce lower rates this year.

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Both bull showers will see higher than normal rates in 2022. This phenomenon, known as a bull swarm, results from Jupiter’s gravity focusing debris in front of Earth’s path. Scientists expect the next swarm event will occur in 2025, Cook said.

Although rates are low this year, there is always a chance of a surprise.

“I never say never, because the unexpected can always happen,” Cook said. “Last year was a good year for the Taurids, 2023 and 2024, not so much.”

Meteors from the southern Taurids are expected to be seen blazing across the sky until the showers end on December 8, according to The Verge. American Meteor Society. Currently, the meteor shower is overlapping with the northern eruptions, which have been active since mid-October but will not reach their peak until next week on Sunday, November 12.

The remaining meteor shower peaks in 2023

If observing the peak of the Thoridids has you eager to see more, several other meteor showers are still peaking this year. Here are the remaining meteor events that will peak in 2023:

● Leonids: November 17-18

● Gemini: December 13-14

● Ursids: December 21-22

There are two moons remaining in 2023, According to the Farmers’ Almanac:

● November 27: Beaver Moon

● December 26: Cold Moon

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