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Meteor Shower Time! November Forecast

So usually I do a separate post for each meteor shower, but November has three relatively close together. Deep breath. Here is all those posts consolidated into one big master POST!

First Peaking on November 4th and 5th, The South Taurids

This meteor shower lasts from September 20th to November 25th. Although it is actually very slow with less than 10 meteors per hour even at its peak, it is known for having some of the brightest meteors. Quality over quantity, right?

WHEN is it?
The constellation is above the horizon basically all of the night but you will probably want to catch it while it is closer to its highest point around midnight. After midnight, the moon will rise so I’d recommend starting your watch on the earlier side.

WHERE should you look?
If you can tell by the name, the constellation these are close to is Taurus. They are actually just above the foot of the Bull, the star Tau. However, if you aren’t that familiar with the sky, don’t worry; you can use an app (like the one I suggested).phone app guide Pick a star in the constellation and use the app to figure out where the constellation is. You can even figure out when it rises and sets. If you use the app I do, make sure you turn on sky object trajectories and use that as a guide for where the star (or constellation) will be and at what time. It should be on automatically, but in case it is not, it is the button on the upper right of the settings (as shown on the right). Also remember that it is always a good idea not to stare at the exact same constellation all night. Let your eyes wander, it isn’t an exact science of where you will see the meteor. Sometimes it is helpful to keep your eyes active by looking somewhere else and coming back.

WHAT are the meteors made of?
As usual this meteor shower is made of the bits of debris left behind by some space object. The bright burning meteors that you see coming down are the bits of debris left by Asteroid 2004 TG10.

Second Peaking on November 11th and 12th, The North Taurids 

These meteors are very similar to the South Taurids with the slower pace and brighter meteors.

WHEN is it?
So you can see it about the same time as the South Taurids, around midnight when Taurus is highest in the sky. However, it is a new moon on the 12th and 13th so you can stay out later than the South Taurids.

WHERE should you look?
Same place as the South Taurids! You will already know where you need to look from watching just a few days before.

WHAT are the meteors made of?
These meteors are made from the debris left behind by Comet 2P Encke.  This comet might actually be the parent to Asteroid 2004 TG10. The comet orbits every 3.3 years making it the shortest period of the “bright” comets.

Third Peaking on November 17th and 18th, The Leonids

Although this meteor shower has a past history of having meteor shower storms (over 1,000 meteors per hour), this year is supposed to just be 10 or 15 meteors per hour. WAH WAH… but there is still a fairly decent shot of your catching some meteors as it is still a very popular shower to watch.

WHEN is it?
So the constellation isn’t above the horizon till about 1ish. This means it is going to be one of the early morning showers to catch. Good news is the moon sets at 11 those nights so no need to worry about the moonlight washing away any meteors.

WHERE should you look?
These meteors follow their name and come out of the constellation Leo. They tend to radiate out of the Lion’s head. If you are not that familiar with the night sky to find Leo, you can check out the suggestion I offer earlier in the South Taurids section. Don’t be afraid to look around at night though; the goal isn’t to banish your eyes to one part of the night sky.

WHAT are the meteors made of?
These meteors are made of the debris left by comet Tempel-Tuttle. It orbits about the sun every 33 years. This means it has a fresh pass about every 33 years or so. I say this because it is very important when figuring out when those “storms” occur. They happen after a fresh pass so they follow a 33 year pattern. However, all passes aren’t equal and it isn’t guaranteed you will have a storm after it does pass. The last storm was in 1966 which had over ten of thousand meteors per hour. Other recorded storms were 1833, 1866, and 1867. Let’s hope 2032 has a treat in store for us!

Happy Observing!

NEXT ON THE LINEUP: Geminids December 13th and 14th

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