Last night, residents of western New York were treated to the Draconid meteor shower. Tonight, the Southern Taurids take center stage.
The Southern Taurids are considered a lower-end meteor shower with some upside. While they typically produce no more than 10 meteors an hour, a handful are what we call “fireballs”, bright and long-lasting streaks that linger in the sky for a few seconds.
I’m a big meteor shower guy, so here are a few tips I’ve learned along the way to maximize your viewing experience:
DRESS WARM: We’ll be falling into the 40s tonight, so laying out not moving will get you chilly quickly.
GET AWAY FROM THE CITY: City lights (and moonlight for that matter) wash out all but the brightest meteors. Seeing 10 an hour is under ideal, pitch black conditions. If you’re in the city, you won’t see 10 an hour.
PLAN ON A LATE NIGHT: While you can technically see meteors at any point after dark, the best window usually favors midnight to an hour before sunrise.
LOOK UP! There’s really no set direction to look as meteors can streak most anywhere across the sky. Best advice is to simply look up and cover as much ground (or sky?) as you can with your eyes.
HAVE PATIENCE: With this being a relatively minor meteor shower, don’t expect to be entertained every second. You may only see one or two in a given hour, so go into it with the understanding of expectations. If those few meteors you see are fireballs, it’s all worth it!
There are some clouds tonight across eastern New York, but much of the sky overhead and to the west is clear. Not perfect, but decent conditions to check out the show. Good luck!
Chief Meteorologist Eric Snitil