Taurid Meteor Shower: How, When and Where to Watch November's Cosmic Lightshow

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The Perseid meteor shower is pictured in the sky over Las Machotas in San Lorenzo of Escorial, Madrid, Spain. Javier Barbancho/Reuters

Good things come to those who wait: The second half of the two-part Taurid meteor shower—the North Taurids—will peak throughout the Northern hemisphere this weekend. So, under the right conditions, anyone on the continental U.S. will be able to look up this weekend and hopefully witness a few of the "Halloween fireballs."

The name might seem a little ill-timed a week after Halloween, but the Taurids are known for the great but few balls of fire that propel through the skies around (keyword: around) Halloween every year. The meteor shower peaks twice, once in the southern hemisphere and once in the northern hemisphere.

The South Taurids peaked last weekend and illuminated the sky for everyone below the equator. This weekend, North Americans can get their fill.

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The night sky is shown during the Perseid meteor shower in Ramona, California. Mike Blake/Reuters

The meteor shower gets its name from the constellation Taurus, the bull. All meteor showers are named for their radiants, the stars around which the shooting stars appear to fall.

As for the other nickname—"the Halloween fireballs"—descriptions from amateur stargazers on Halloween night just a few years back lend some clear explanation: "I thought some wise guy was shining a spotlight at me," a man from New Germany, Pennsylvania told NASA, describing the meteor shower. "Then I realized what it was: a fireball in the southern sky." While children were out trick-or-treating throughout the United States, people reported spotting meteors "brighter than a full moon."

Although it won't be a complete deluge of bright fireballs, the North Taurid meteor shower provide a steady stream of around seven fireballs per hour. And they should be pretty easy to spot this year as the waning crescent moon ensures a clear backdrop for the light show. In the late night hours before the moon rises, between midnight Saturday night and dawn Sunday morning, anywhere north of the equator, you'll be able to see the shooting stars.

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Taurid Meteor Shower: How, When and Where to Watch November's Cosmic Lightshow | Tech & Science