What is the Taurid meteor shower, when does it happen and how can I see it in 2023?
The Taurids are a slow and long-lasting meteor shower, occurring every year from late October and through November.
Even at their peak, the Taurids are not particularly frequent, but they do provide a sprinkling throughout the two months.
In 2023, the Taurid meteor shower will peak between 10-11 October in the Southern Hemisphere and 12-13 November in the Northern Hemisphere.
Meteor showers are caused when the Earth travels through a cloud of cometary debris. In this case, the Taurid meteor shower is caused by the Earth ploughing through debris left behind by Comet Encke.
The comet stream is very spread out and dispersed, which is why it takes the Earth a relatively long time to pass through.
It is also why we see two separate segments of the shower: the South Taurids (10 September - 20 November) and the North Taurids (20 October – 10 December). The North and South Taurids are two fragments of the same debris cloud and they are similar in density, so the peaks are about the same.
Find out the difference between an asteroid, a comet, a meteor, and a meteorite.
The Taurids occur in autumn each year.
DATE OF MAXIMUM
Southern: 10-11 October
Northern: 12-13 November
Southern: 10 Sep - 20 November
Northern: 20 Oct - 10 December
Relatively slow and bright meteors
Find out more about other meteors and meteorites around the year.
Meteor showers are best seen with a good, clear view of the stars on a night with no clouds.
Try to find somewhere with dark skies, an unobstructed horizon and very little light pollution. The Taurids are not particularly dramatic - use this as a chance to familiarise yourself with the night sky. Perhaps you'll catch a lucky shooting star while you're out there.
Make sure there are no direct sources of light in your eyes, so that you can fully adapt to the local conditions and ensure that fainter meteors become visible. There’s no advantage to using binoculars or a telescope; just look up with your own eyes to take in the widest possible view of the sky.
Hunting for meteors, like the rest of astronomy, is a waiting game, so it's best to bring a comfy chair to sit on and to wrap up warm as you could be outside for a while. They can be seen with the naked eye so there's no need for binoculars or a telescope, though you will need to allow your eyes to adjust to the dark.