0 In Astronomy/ Meteor Shower

METEOR SHOWER TIME! THE NOVEMBER RUSH

I have been so caught up with work I missed a meteor shower (well at least the peak) but no fear there are another two just a stone’s throw away. The best month of the year is finally here! November and its three meteor showers never disappoint. Even though none of the showers is particularly famous, the Taurids are known for having fireballs which are extremely bright long lasting meteors or the kind of meteors that you spend talking about for years to come! Also, stick around to the end of this post…. or immediately scroll down as you probably already started to do so (I HAVEN’T EVEN TOLD YOU WHY) because I have done some detective work and am going to start featuring Slooh’s meteor shower streams again.

The South Taurids just peaked earlier this week but their sister shower is about to peak this weekend so I hope you can forgive me for missing them!

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

This shower is the one that is particularly known for its fireballs! So although it isn’t as prolific as some of the more famous showers you catch a sight that will take your breath away if you are lucky. I mean check out that picture 😍.

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. You can catch Taurids from mid October until early December but you will want to try to look for them closer to their peak on November 11th and 12th (THIS WEEKEND!!!). The Moon rises at midnight so you don’t want to stay out too late watching this shower, kids.

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?
This meteor shower is made of the bits of debris left behind by some space object burning up in the atmosphere. The bright burning meteors that you see coming down are the bits of debris left by Comet 2P Encke which was thought to be a much larger comet that had disintegrated over the past 20,000 to 30,000 years. Asteroid 2004 TG 10 also sometimes gets attributed for this beautiful firework show. 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.

 

Peaking on November 17th and 18th, The Leonids

This shower has a particularly famous history of producing thousands of meteors per second. Unfortunately it only does this about every thirty years. This year is supposed to be a dismal 10 or 15 meteors per hour. However, the Moon will be new these days so you will have some great observing opportunities.

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.

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 confine 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!

 

Okay so fair warning, not that much detective work went into this. Slooh has changed its platform so you have to be a member to watch its live shows (which used to be public) so I stopped featuring the shows. However, as I just looked into the pricing plans, I realized there is one that is FREE. Yep you heard it FREE!!!! All you need to do is provide a name and email and you are set. This means you have access to not only its shows but also the live telescope feeds (of course if you are more serious about Astronomy they have supplemental plans for you). BUT YEAH we are bringing back links to Slooh shows starting with the Leonid Meteor Shower. You can watch the show here or sign up for Slooh here.

Happy Observing!

NEXT ON THE LINEUP: Geminids December 13th and 14th… If you are in a warm enough spot to view these, they rival the Perseids for being the best meteor shower of the year!

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