The Taurid meteor shower is due to peak this week for people in the Northern Hemisphere. Here’s how to watch the comet stream from the UK
The Taurid meteor shower will be visible over the UK on Friday in what is expected to be a bright and long-lasting display.
The meteors pass through every October and late November.
A comet called ‘Encke’ causes the dazzling display.
The large nature of the comet stream means there are actually two different parts to the shower.l
The South Taurids are visible in the southern hemisphere and take place between 10th September and 20th November.
Whereas the North Taurids can be seen from the UK between October 20 and December 10.
Both parts of the shower are of similar visibility, as they are simply two different parts of the same cloud.
When is the Taurid meteor shower?
The North Taurids will be visible in the UK on Friday November 12, with what the Royal Museums Greenwich say will be a long and slow moving shower, with less than five meteors per hour.
For your best at seeing as much of the shower as possible, you will want to find the darkest spot possible and hope for a clear night with little cloud coverage.
Try and get as far away from any light pollution as you can and, if possible, locate a spot with an unobstructed horizon.
How to see Meteor shower
Speaking to Science Focus, University of Bath’s head of astrophysics, Proffessor Carole Mundell, said: “They’ll appear to have come from the constellation of Taurus, which will rise high in the sky probably around midnight to 1.30am.”
“However, these meteors will move slowly across the sky, and you should be able to see them between midnight and 5am.”
The Taurids aren’t the most dramatic of the meteor showers you can spot in the UK – only travelling through the sky at a snail-like 17 miles per second or 65,000 miles per hour.
However, you won’t need binoculars or a telescope to see them – just a comfy chair and lots of layers.
Because of their slower-moving nature, they also provide a great opportunity to learn more about the night’s sky.
Why are they called the Taurids?
The shower earned it name because when tracing the origin of the where it seems they come from as they move across the sky, it appears as if they come out of the constellation called Taurus.
They are also often called the ‘Halloween Fireballs’, due to their annual visibility over the holiday.
It is thought that both the Taurids and Encke come from a huge comet that has been breaking up over the last 20 to 30 thousand years.