A Stargazer's Guide to the Taurid Meteor Shower: When It Will Peak and How to Watch

The Taurids will peak around midnight on Nov. 4 into the early morning of Nov. 5, producing approximately 5-10 meteors per hour

Taurid meteorite fireball
Photo: Getty

Another starry, starry night is upon us!

This year, the annual Taurid meteor shower is expected to peak during the late evening of Nov. 4 and last through the early morning of Nov. 5, producing spectacular streams of stars in the sky.

Although the display is considered a minor meteor shower (lacking a relatively strong peak), they are known to have "staying power, rambling along steadily for weeks and months in Northern Hemisphere autumn," according to EarthSky.com.

Viewers can expect to see approximately 5 to 10 meteors per hour with this shower. It's considered unusual because it consists of two separate streams; the first is created by dust grains that have been left behind by Asteroid 2004 TG10, while the second stream is produced by debris trailing from Comet 2P Encke.

Taurids diagram
American Meteor Society

These two streams are distinguished between north and south. The South Taurids can be spotted between Sept. 10 to Nov. 20. The North Taurids are active from around Oct. 20 to Dec. 10, and are known to produce "fireballs" — also known as super-bright meteors you won't want to miss.

Evidence indicates that higher rates of Taurid fireballs happen every seven years. The last major fireball display was in 2015, meaning that 2022 will likely contain some spectacular cosmic displays.

Why every seven years? The American Meteor Society explained, "These increased numbers of fireballs are due to the fact that the Earth encounters larger than normal particles shed by comet 2P/Encke, the parent comet of the Taurids."

Northern Taurid bolide

The stars seem to be aligning for stargazers this year because the new moon will be in effect on Nov. 4 – leaving the skies extra dark for an excellent show.

A new moon takes place when "the moon is between Earth and the sun, and the side of the moon facing toward us receives no direct sunlight," as stated by Space.com. "It is lit only by dim sunlight reflected from Earth."

Like any solar display viewed from Earth, the best conditions involve the least amount of light pollution, so picking a location far away from city lights is recommended when watching the stars shoot. This particular meteor shower can be seen from anywhere in the world, so all you need to do is find a dark location and look up.

New moon

The meteors will stem from the Taurus constellation, even though they can be seen all over the night sky. "Taurus is a prominent northern constellation, lying immediately north-west of Orion. It is highest in the evening sky in the months around December," according to InTheSky.org.

Having trouble finding Taurus? The easiest way to locate the constellation is by first finding the two brightest stars in Orion (the hourglass-shaped constellation), and the two brightest stars that follow Orion: Canis Major and Canis Minor (the "dog" stars).

Taurids meteors

Then, look west of the two brightest stars in Orion, and you should find Aldebaran – an orange-hued, large star (also the brightest member of the Taurus constellation). From there, look for a cluster of stars that form a profile of a Bull's face – a V-shaped pattern of stars called the Hyades. (Fun fact: Taurus comes from the Latin word "bull!")

The Taurids fall right in the thick of meteor season, following the Draconids which peaked on the evening of Oct. 8, and the Orionids which peaked on Oct. 20 in the early morning.

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