Fireballs Are Set To Light Up The Sky Tonight
If you see a ball of fire shooting through the air this evening, don’t panic. A meteor shower hitting its peak this weekend is set to see hundreds of comets shooting through the night sky, including some visible fireballs.
The Northern Taurid meteor shower is an annual event that has been going on since October, but is set to be at its most visible between November 11–12. That’s because the Earth will be travelling through the densest part of the meteor belt, and means stargazers could expect to see as many as five fireballs an hour flashing across the night sky.
Experts have explained that fireballs are defined as meteors that shine brighter than Venus – usually the brightest object in the night sky aside from the moon – and typically last for longer than the average comet.
Robert Lunsford of the American Meteor Society says that fireballs are visible for up to two seconds, whereas most comets disappear after around half a second, with fireballs travelling at a slower average speed of 18mph compared to most meteors, CNN reports.
The NASA Meteoroid Environment Office says that the best time to view the shower will be after midnight in your time zone, although as with most astronomical events, you’ll get a better view if you’re somewhere with little light pollution.
This week is also set to be a rare occasion when all the planets in our solar system will be visible to the naked eye, so it’s the perfect time to do a bit of stargazing.
And if you’ve got plans tonight, don’t worry, the Geminids meteor shower is set to pass Earth in a month’s time, and with its December 10 peak falling on a new moon, it should be an equally great show.
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