The month of November will feature exciting astronomy events that include a rare planetary alignment.
Note to Michiganders: Those that wake up early enough may just see something bright light up the night sky.
The Taurid meteor shower, one of the year’s longest, will be visible throughout the month. The shower began Oct. 20 and will last until Nov. 30. However, the Taurids will be most active for a one-week period beginning Tuesday night, according to space.com.
Sometimes called “Halloween fireballs,” the Taurids appear yellow or orange and about 12 of them can be seen per hour.
“The Taurids are rich in fireballs, so if you see a Taurid it can be very brilliant and it’ll knock your eyes out, but their rates absolutely suck,” NASA meteor expert Bill Cooke told Space.com. “It’s simply the fact that when a Taurid appears it’s usually big and bright.”
The meteor shower is may be caused by debris left behind by Encke’s Comet, a comet that orbits around the sun about once every 3 years. As comets orbit around the sun, it leaves behind a trail of debris called meteoroids. When the chunks enter the Earth’s atmosphere, they become meteors. As the meteors go through the planet’s atmosphere, the friction heats them up, making the debris visible from the ground.
The best chance to witness the meteor shower is in the early morning right before dawn under clear, dark skies, said space.com. This leaves out the majority of metro Detroit, as city lights or slight haze can decrease chances of seeing Taurids.
In addition, cloud cover is an issue this time of the year. Meteorologist Trent Frey of the National Weather Service office in White Lake said Wednesday and Thursday morning are expected to be cloudy. Friday morning may be the best chance to look for Taurids before the skies turn cloudy again for the rest of the weekend.
Those who are really curious about seeing the fireballs may want to take a trip Up North for better chances of seeing the phenomenon. No special equipment is needed. Just get outdoors and stare up at the sky.
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