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Taurid Meteor Shower UK 2016: Where And When To Watch This Stunning Spectacle

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04/11/2016 12:11 | Updated 04 November 2016

November is already shaping up to be packed with astrological fireworks, with everything from a supermoon to giant meteor showers, the solar system is pulling out all the stops this month. 

The latest date to put in your calendar is for the Taurid meteor shower, which will be delivering shooting fireballs for the next few weeks.

Orchidpoet via Getty Images

What is the Taurid meteor shower?

Earth passes through the Taurid shower every year around the first few weeks of November, peaking over a period of 48 hours. 

The Taurid shower is thought to be made up of the remains of a comet, Encke, which has been breaking apart for the past 20,000 to 30,000 years. No one knows how big a Taurid meteorite might be, but NASA expert Bill Cooke said the comet chunks are estimated to weigh a few ounces.

What can I expect to see?

As impressive as a self-destructive comet sounds, disclaimer here, the Taurid meteor shower is not as impressive as the Perseid meteor that saw over 200 shooting stars an hour back in August.

Instead the Taurids are famous for having infrequent, slow moving, but incredibly bright, shooting stars - you should expect to see only a handful across a period of an hour.  

Although this is less jaw dropping than a storm of fireballs, the slow movement is probably beneficial to amateur stargazers who don’t want a “blink and you’ll miss it” type event. 

Cooke said: “In general, the Taurids are very bright. There may only be five an hour, but they are bright. That is their claim to fame.”

Where can I see the Taurid meteor shower?

The Taurid meteor shower occurs in both the Northern and Southern hemisphere, but a week apart, with the northern show happening first.

For the best view you need to be as far away from light pollution as possible, so urban built-up areas are best avoided. 

When can I see the Taurid meteor shower? 

In the northern hemisphere (for UK viewers) the shower will peak on the 4 November and again on the 5 November. Whereas the South Taurid shower, is a week later on the 11 and 12 November.

The meteors are meant to be most abundant around midnight on those dates, so get out in the garden with your deckchair (and possibly a blanket) for a late night show. 

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