Fireballs Will Light Up The Night Sky During Northern Taurid Meteor Shower Tonight

Fireballs Will Light Up The Night Sky During Northern Taurid Meteor Shower Tonight

The Northern Taurid meteor shower that will last until December 10, will peak on November 11 and 12.

Representational Image Source: Getty/ Artur Debat

With the wildfires, an ongoing coronavirus pandemic, and of course, the U.S. Presidential election, 2020 has been an overwhelming year. However, you can sit back and relax this month with some breathtaking celestial shows to liven up an otherwise gloomy year. First up is the Northern Taurid meteor showers that will light up the night sky with its dazzling fireballs. While it has been spotted since October, the annual shower is said to peak on November 11 and 12, according to the American Meteor Society. Now don't be alarmed by the name, as the fireballs are perfectly safe to be viewed from Earth and it will not hurt anyone. 


Bill Cooke Jr. heading NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office says that the Earth will be traveling through the densest part of the debris stream of comet 2P/Encke, which would give rise to the Northern Taurid showers. These fireballs are just meteors that shine brighter than Venus, which is considered the brightest object in the night sky after the Moon, explained Cooke according to CNN. You could get a really good look at them as they tend to last for about a second or two which is more than an average meteor which tends to last less than half a second, revealed the meteor society's fireball report coordinator Robert Lunsford. 


In the 1980s when Lunsford was stargazing, he saw a fireball from the Taurid meteor showers and it was like a full moon had appeared. "I remember sitting at my telescope, and the ground just lit up. I looked up fast enough to see the meteor shoot by," said Lunsford. Cooke, who now relies on NASA's extensive camera system to see Taurid meteors, too, caught a glimpse of one of these fireballs while trick-or-treating. "I was 13 so I was an obnoxious little teenager, and I saw a very bright Taurid fireball, and I thought that was a really cool thing to happen on Halloween," he shared. The Southern Taurids, which peaks on October 29-30, are visible from September 10 to November 20. Meanwhile, the Northern Taurids peaks on November 11-12 and is visible between October 20 and December 10. 

Taurid meteorite fireball descending in glowing aurora over Lake Simcoe on November 9, 2015. Image Source: Getty Images/Orchidpoet (Representative)

You can expect to see about five fireballs per hour during the peak nights and be sure to gaze at it after midnight but before dawn. Head to a place where there is less light pollution will help you catch a clearer glimpse of the meteor shower. Be prepared to stay for a few hours and bring some blankets to keep yourself warm during the stay. Lie flat on your back with your feet facing east and look up. Allow your eyes to adapt to the darkness of the sky and be patient as you wait for the shooting stars to appear. 

Bright meteor streaking across the night sky above Payson, Arizona during the Leonids meteor shower. Image Source: Getty Images/ mdesigner125 (Representative)

Leonids is another major meteor shower that happens every year from November 6 to November 30, reports CBS News According to NASA, the shower brings bright, colorful meteors that travel at speeds of 44 miles per second, which is some of the fastest ones throughout the year. Now, Leonids are known for their fireballs and Earthgrazer meteors, that streak close to the horizon line and are famous for their colorful and long dust tails. If the conditions are ideal, the Leonid meteor shower can produce 10 to 2 visible meteors every hour.



Every 33 years there's a Leonid storm which showcases hundreds to thousands of visible meteors each hour. The last one occurred back in 2002 and you might want to depend on the Northern Taurid meteor showers for a breathtaking view. However, if you happen to miss it there's another in-store. It's the Geminids meteor shower, one of the strongest this year, which will be peak mid-December. "This year, the Geminids are going to be great because there's going to be no moon around to spoil the show," said Cooke. 

Geminid Meteor in the night sky of Penang Island. Image Source: Getty Images/Jordan Lye (Representative)

Recommended for you