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Taurid Meteor Shower to Peak as New Moon Arrives

Stargazers are in for a special treat this week as the Taurid meteor shower reaches its peak, producing bright fireballs in the night sky around the world.

This year is a particularly good year for viewing the Taurids as the peak of the meteor shower coincides with the new moon, occurring the night of Nov. 11 into Nov. 12.

The new moon will help limit the amount of light pollution, making the shooting stars appear even brighter than they would during any other phase of the moon.

Those heading out to look for the Taurids can do so at any time of the night as they will streak across the sky throughout the entire night. However, you may need to be patient.

"In a given year, this shower typically produces just five to 10 meteors per hour," AccuWeather Meteorologist Dave Samuhel said.

"There are notable swarm years, when this shower really impresses, and 2015 is one of those years," Samuhel added.

Even though the peak will not occur until Wednesday night, people will still be able to see some in the nights leading up to and following the peak.

The Taurids are well known in the astronomy community for producing fireballs, an occurrence that is not common for the typical meteor shower.

Fireballs are extremely bright meteors that last for several seconds and can light up the entire sky before fizzling out.

While these fireballs may be startling to the unexpected, you don't have to worry about them hitting the earth and causing damage as the meteors will still burn up completely as they glide through the atmosphere.

"You do not have to be in a far northern area to see these fireballs," Samuhel added. "They will be visible from anywhere in the world."

This includes Europe, although clouds may hinder viewing over the northern half of the continent.

http://www.accuweather.com/en/weather-news/taurid-meteor-shower-madrid-to/53449051

A fireball from the Taurid meteor shower with the Northern Lights glowing over the horizon of New Brunswick, Canada. (Photo/AccuWeather Astronomy Fan Edith McCormack).

History of the Taurids

The Taurid meteor shower is a yearly occurrence that typically lasts from late October into late November as the Earth passes through the debris trail left behind by Comet Encke. Some meteors may even be observed as late as the first days of December.

This debris is larger than the particles that are associated with the typically meteor showers which is why the Taurids produce fireballs and other meteor showers do not.

This particular meteor shower was first discovered in 1869, but astronomers estimate that the Taurids have been occurring every year for the past 4,700 years.

For more information on the Taurids and other celestial events, follow the AccuWeather Astronomy Facebook page.