CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida – “Halloween fireballs” or Taurid meteors are frequently seen in the night sky from mid-October until mid-November.
Every year from September to November, the Earth passes through a broad stream of debris left by Comet 2/P Encke.
The dust associated with the comet hits the Earth’s atmosphere at 65,000 mph and burns up, creating the Taurid meteor shower which peaks on November 12.
During most years, the shower is weak, and only a few Taurid meteors can be seen each night.
In other years, the Taurids can put on a show and produce huge fireballs.
Given the behavior of past Taurid swarms, increased fireball activity may be seen during the last week of October and the first two weeks of November, according to NASA.
How to watch the Taurid Meteor Shower
For optimal viewing, find an open sky, lie on the ground, and look straight up into the dark sky. It is important to be far away from artificial lights. Your eyes can take up to 30 minutes to adjust to the darkness, so allow plenty of time for your eyes to dark-adapt.
Taurid meteors can be seen any time the constellation Taurus is above the horizon during the months of September, October, and November.
The best time to look for Taurids is after midnight, when Taurus is high in the sky, and when the sky is dark and clear, with no moonlight or twilight to mask the fainter meteors.
Where to look for the Taurids
First, find Orion’s noticeable three-star belt in the night sky. Then look slightly to the west to find the Taurus constellation and the radiant of the Taurid meteor shower where the meteors appear to originate.
Two regions of comet dust produce two different radiant points known as the North Taurids and South Taurids. Both radiant points can be found by finding the Taurus constellation.
The South Taurids are visible through November 30 and the North Taurids are visible through December 10.