Jul 25, 2014

Taurid Meteor Shower launches a Meteor Shower Season

Look to the skies for some stunning light displays this November and December - starting with the Taurid Meteor shower just after midnight Sunday night.

Taurid Meteor Shower launches a Meteor Shower Season

As you hang holiday lights and light the candles, cast your gaze upon the universe's natural fireworks, as well. 

Astronomers anticipate  three meteor showers to take place over the next month, starting late tonight.

Nov. 12: Taurid Meteor Shower

  • The Taurid meteors are expected to peak Nov. 12 in the early morning hours just after midnight.  EarthSky.com reports that this slow-moving, modest shower may yield just 10 meteors per hour. "But even one bright meteor can be a treat, especially since a good percentage of the Taurid meteors tend to produce fireballs!" according to the  website. The shower is visible anywhere in the world and will appear to radiate from the Pleiades star cluster.

Nov. 17: Leonid Meteor Shower

  • After years of heavier-than-average showers, the famous Leonids have returned and are expected to peak on Nov. 17 in the pre-dawn hours. These meteors are fast (about 40 miles per second) and can leave trails of smoke, according to  Astronomy.com. They will appear to radiate from the constellation Leo the Lion. "Many Leonids are also bright. Usually, the meteors are white or bluish-white, but in recent years some observers reported yellow-pink and copper-colored ones," according to the  website

Dec. 13: Geminid Meteor Shower

  • The last shooting star cluster before New Year's is the Geminid Meteor Shower, expected to peak in the pre-dawn hours after midnight between Dec. 13 and Dec. 15. They will be visible in all parts of the sky and streak through the sky at more than 50 meteors per hour, almost a meteor a minute, according to  EarthSky.com. The new moon is expected to fall on Dec. 13, making for optimal dark skies—as long as you avoid city lights and clouds, the  website states.  

Be sure to schedule a night this season to bundle up, lay out some blankets and enjoy the light show in the sky. 

Don't have access to a telescope?  The Lehigh Valley Amateur Astronomical Society (LVAAS) invites you and your family to attend any monthly public star party. Hear a Night Sky Network talk about NASA missions and space science topics. See a planetarium show and look through observatory telescopes at the moon, planets and deep sky objects (weather permitting). All members of the general public are invited to LVAAS Star Party Events!!  It's a great way to learn about astronomy."

The next LVAAS party is 7 p.m. on Nov. 17 and will focus on "The Andromeda Galaxy and the Winter Triangle on the horizon." 

Share your tips for photographing the showers, and tell us your favorite places along the Peninsula to sneak off to view the skies in the comments!

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