The long Taurid meteor shower is gracing the skies, with the show lasting through the month.
The shower will reach its peak on the night of 12-13 November in the Northern Hemisphere. But it is notable in large part because of how long it is visible either side of that peak: the Taurids start in late October and carry on through November.
They are actually made up of two parts of the same debris cloud. The South Taurids arrive and peak earlier than the Northern Taurids, but both are active through November.
What they have in staying power, however, they do lack in frequency. They are slow and long-lasting but do not occur especially frequently.
That means that they can be more difficult and less rewarding to watch, and perhaps accounts for why they are not as well known as some of the other meteor showers.
Still, the advice for increasing the chances of seeing the shower are the same. It is best to find somewhere dark and clear, let your eyes adjust to the darkness and then just spend time looking up.
The Taurids are sufficiently unreliable that there is no guarantee that you will actually see anything. But it can be a good time to try and spot other notable parts of the night sky – shooting stars, satellites, and constellations.
The meteor shower gets its name because they seem to come out of the constellation of Taurus, or the bull.
But they are actually formed as the Earth moves through the debris that was left behind by a comet known as Encke. That is thought to have come from a much larger comet that disintegrated over the past 20,000 or 30,000 years.
This article was originally published in 2021.