One of the most famous of the annual meteor showers will soon be reaching its maximum: The Leonids. These ultrafast meteors are due to reach their peak on Saturday morning (Nov. 18).
Meteors, also known as shooting stars, are pieces of dust and debris from space that burn up in Earth's atmosphere, where they can create bright streaks across the night sky. When Earth passes through the dusty trail of a comet or asteroid's orbit, the many streaks of light in the sky are known as a meteor shower. Particularly large chunks of material can create an extra-bright fireball streak, but most meteors are still small enough to entirely burn up in Earth's atmosphere. If a meteor makes it to Earth it's known as a meteorite. Before they hit atmosphere the objects are called meteoroids.
Reference The Leonid meteor shower is active between Nov. 3 and Dec. 2 and will peak on Nov. 17-18, producing up to 15 meteors per hour.
The Northern Taurid meteor shower peaks overnight on Nov. 11, offering the chance to see fireballs created by debris from Comet 2P/Encke burning up in Earth's atmosphere.
Reference The Taurid meteor shower is composed of two streams known as the Southern Taurids and the Northern Taurids. We explore this impressive shower in more detail here.
Japan's DESTINY+ mission to 3200 Phaethon, the parent body of the famous Geminid meteor shower, will have to wait a bit longer to get off the ground.
If skies are clear during this upcoming week, be sure to take a few moments to gaze upward. You just might be lucky and catch a glimpse of a spectacular sky sight — a Taurid meteor.
Jupiter will be opposite the sun as seen from Earth on Friday (Nov. 3), shining brightly throughout the night as the Northern and Southern Taurid meteor showers approach their peaks.
I use Moon and Mars rocks in my teaching and have a modest collection of meteorites. I marvel at the fact that I can hold in my hand something that is billions of years old from billions of miles away.
During the third week of October, the meteor display spawned by the debris shed by Halley reaches its peak: The Orionid meteor shower.
Reference The Draconid meteor shower peaks around Oct. 8. Here we explore what the Draconids are, where they are found and how you can see them.
Reference The Orionid meteor shower peaks between Oct. 20 and Oct. 21 and is visible until early November. We explore the annual shower in more detail here.
Reference Our meteor showers 2023 calendar will tell you everything you need to know about upcoming meteor showers, including where and when to see them.
The Draconid meteor shower will be active from Oct. 6 to Oct. 10, reaching its peak on Monday (Oct. 9) under a fairly dark moon.
The new moon glows in the sky above Turkey with the reflected light of Earth shining upon it in gorgeous photos by astrophotographer Miguel Claro.
One of the oldest meteorites ever discovered, the 4.6 billion-year-old Erg Chech 002 discovered in the Sahara desert in 2020, could reveal vital information about the formation of the solar system.
Reference The Perseid meteor shower will peak around Aug.12 and Aug.13. Our guide tells you how and where to look for them.
Scientists have discovered the origin of a rare iron meteorite that fell to Earth in 2020. It's the first iron meteorite from a parent body with a known orbit.
Skywatchers can enjoy the popular Perseid meteor shower from the comfort of their own homes when it peaks on Saturday (Aug.12) and Sunday (Aug. 13).