Above image: Moon phase at the predicted peak of the North Taurid shower. Credit: US Naval Observatory
Meteor forecasters are calling for the peak of the North Taurid meteor shower late evening Monday, November 11 until dawn Tuesday, November 12. The meteors are few and far between at mid-evening but tend to pick up steam around midnight. The most meteors typically fall in the wee hours after midnight, perhaps offering as many as 10 meteors per hour. However, the brilliant waxing gibbous moon will be present during the North Taurids’ prime time hours, so you may be better off watching the shower between moonset and dawn.
The North Taurid meteors are named for the constellation Taurus the Bull because the meteors appear to radiate from this part of the starry sky. Taurus rises over the northeast horizon around 7 to 8 p.m. at mid-northern latitudes. At temperate latitudes in the Southern Hemisphere, Taurus rises a few hours later.
Taurus climbs upward as evening deepens into late night, and soars highest for the night shortly after midnight. The higher that Taurus appears in your sky, the more meteors that you’re likely to see. Because Taurus is a northern constellation, It climbs higher in the Northern Hemisphere sky.
You don’t need to find the constellation Taurus to enjoy the North Taurid meteor shower. But you do need to find a dark, open sky and to be mindful of the setting time of the moon. Be sure to take along a reclining lawn chair for comfort.
Bottom line: From midnight until dawn on Tuesday, November 12, you might see up to 10 North Taurid meteors per hour in a dark sky. Some might be bright!