How to see shooting stars light up the night sky this week
Mercury may be back in retrograde today, but it's not all doom and gloom up in the cosmos — in fact, there are a ton of cool celestial events taking place in the sky this week.
Two Taurid meteor showers are peaking in November in the Northern Hemisphere, from both the Southern Taurids and Northern Taurids. The former has been active since Sept. 10 and will continue until Nov. 20, while the later became active on Oct. 20 and continues until Dec. 10. And they'll overlap this week to a spectacular effect.
The Taurids are named for their relationship to the Taurus constellation, which rises in the east after dusk. According to Travel + Leisure, it's easiest to see at this time of year by finding the bright star cluster of Pleiades (also known as the Seven Sisters) and looking down toward the V-shaped Hyades star cluster, which doubles as the head of Taurus the bull.
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Since the two showers are overlapping, you can expect to see about five to 10 shooting stars per hour. Think: bright fireballs streaking across the sky. While the Southern Taurids technically peaked in October, the Northern Taurids peak on Nov. 12, right before a full moon. That means your best bet to catch a glimpse of the magic is in the coming days — right in time for Halloween! (A new moon on Oct. 28 means you'll only see a waxing crescent for the next few evenings, and moonlight won't interfere too much with your search for falling stars.)
The next major shower, the Leonids, will be active from Nov. 6 to Nov. 30, and peak at midnight on the night of Nov. 16. At that time, you might be able to see about 15 shooting stars per hour.
This year has been a good one for lucky celestial events. Back in July, for example, there was a special "Black Moon" that only occurs every 32 months — an excellent occasion for stargazing.
So, get out your binoculars, grab a blanket and go enjoy the show.