While the North Taurid Meteor Shower isn’t the most productive meteor shower of the year, it can produce some of the year’s biggest and brightest meteors.
Also known as ‘fireballs,’ these meteors are associated with the Comet Enckeet, and often appear enormous in the night sky. In fact, Severe Weather Europe notes that the fireball-meteors appeared as big as the moon in the night sky in 2015.
The daytime Beta Taurids Meteor Shower started on June 5 and runs through July 18 – they peak around June 28 – 29. Later this year, the North Taurid meteor shower takes place in the evenings on Nov. 11 – 12 in the northern hemisphere, which is when Vancouverites can expect to see the display; the South Taurid takes place Oct. 9 – 10 in the southern hemisphere.
According to Space.com, stargazers can spot the origin of the meteors by locating the constellation of Taurus the Bull. In order to find Taurus, viewers should look for the, “constellation Orion and then peer to the northeast to find the red star Aldebaran, the star in the bull’s eye.” However, the shooting stars will appear across the night sky.
Meteor showers take place when the earth moves through debris left behind by comets and asteroids. Space.com notes that Comet Enckeet leaves crumbs in its wake as it orbits the sun. When Jupiter’s orbit brings it close to the comet’s trail, “the gas giant’s gravity nudges the comet particle stream toward Earth, so more meteors are visible to observers here. Astronomers call this an “outburst.”
What’s more, meteor experts predict that one of these productive “outbursts” will take place this fall.
Stargazers should opt to travel as far away from city lights as possible in order to avoid light pollution that will obscure the clarity of heavenly bodies. While this works best in more remote places, anywhere that has a higher elevation will also provide more ideal viewing conditions.