How to watch the Taurid meteor shower this weekend

By Brooks Hays  |  Nov. 10, 2017 at 3:39 PM
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Nov. 10 (UPI) -- The Taurid meteor shower can be slow going. But while the show isn't action packed, Taurid meteors are often bigger and brighter than others.

To watch the Taurids, look skyward during this weekend's predawn hours. Sunday night, November 12, and early Monday morning, will provide the best viewing.

Meteors are the result of collisions between Earth's upper atmosphere and rock and ice fragments left behind by asteroids and comets. The debris responsible for the Taurids was left behind by the comet Encke. Most of the fragments weigh just a few ounces.

"The dust associated with the comet hits the Earth's atmosphere at 65,000 miles per hour and burns up," NASA reported.

The Taurids are named so because they appear to radiate from the constellation Taurus. The show actually began a few weeks ago; the shower is one of Earth's longest-lasting meteor showers. Though it never reaches much of a crescendo, it offers the chance to see shooting stars from mid-October through mid-November.

A full moon made meteor watching difficult last weekend, but the moon is now waning and Sunday evening into Monday morning will offer seven hours of moon-free darkness. But every night for the next several nights will feature at least a few shooting stars -- as long as skies are clear.

"Each evening, up until the time the moon comes above the horizon, up to about 15 meteors may be visible per hour," the Scientific American reported. "They are often yellowish-orange and, as meteors go, appear to move rather slowly."

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