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The 2014 Farmers Almanac
Farmers' Almanac

November is for Meteors

November is for Meteors

As the fall of 2013 goes speeding toward winter, the holiday season, and a new year, let’s take some time to enjoy what November has to offer. In addition to Thanksgiving, and all of the delicious food that entails, November is a great time for sky watching. Last week brought a partial solar eclipse to the Eastern section of North America, and the end of this month will bring the best views of what could be an amazingly bright comet.

November also brings two major meteor showers, the Taurids and the Leonids.

The Taurids are actually two annual meteor showers created by the comet Encke. They are named for constellation Taurus, where they are seen to come from in the sky. The Southern Taurids last from about September 10th to November 20th, peaking around October 10th, while the Northern Taurids last from about October 20th to December 10th, peaking on or near November 12th.

This year is predicted to be a very favorable year for the Northern Taurids, which appear at a rate of about 5 per hour and move slowly enough through the sky for easy viewing, even by untrained eyes. The bright waxing gibbous Moon sets at 1:30 a.m., and the peak time for the shower runs from about midnight to 2 a.m., so there should still be a window for unobstructed peak viewing. Look for the constellation Taurus high in the southern sky.

The Leonid meteor shower, named for the constellation Leo, occurs from November 10th to November 20th each year, peaking around November 17th and 18th. Typically one of the most exciting showers of the year, the Leonids produce an average of 20 to 30 meteors per hour. Unfortunately for sky watchers, the full Moon on the night of the 17th will make this year’s shower difficult to impossible to see. If you want to try anyway, look to the southeast in the hours just before dawn.

3 comments

1 Curt { 11.12.13 at 7:46 pm }

Thanks for that info. We shall be watching tonight.

2 Jack Chambers { 11.09.13 at 7:27 pm }

Jamie,
Can you tell me about the metor shower associated with Comet Ison. I understaned the earth will cross the entrance route of Ison from earlier this year, where there should be a trail of debris.
Thanks,
JC

3 Theresa Connors Elliot { 11.06.13 at 7:36 pm }

Informative article as per usual. I am looking forward to the November meteor showers. Keep up the great job!

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