The Taurids meteor shower is one of the most spectacular events – and most long-lasting – of the year. It will peak from 5 to 7 November 2019.


Unlike the October’s Orionid meteor shower, the Taurids has two streams and can be split into the Northern Taurids and the Southern Taurids.


The Southern Taurids is the more spectacular of the two. According to the America Meteor Society, the Southern Taurids have three “shallow peaks”.


They take place on 10 October, another near 1 November and the final peak around 15 November. The Northern Taurids has just the one peak, approaching on November 5.

What are the Taurids?


According to NASA, the Taurids are leftover particles from the comet Encke Comet, named after their radiant point in the constellation Taurus.


Encke and the Taurids are believed to be remnants of a much larger comet, which has disintegrated over the past 20,000 to 30,000 years, according to the Royal Astronomical Society:


“It may be concluded that these asteroids having sizes in the range 0.11–7.55 km are also the fragments of comet 2P/Encke; or together with comet 2P/Encke are the fragments of a larger cometary body. This work was supported by the International Science and Technology Centre Project T-1086.”Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Will it be visible from South Africa?


Yes, skywatchers in both the Northern and Southern hemispheres will be able to view the Taurids meteor shower; however, the peak viewing time will differ.


Apart from the South Pole, the Taurids are visible practically from anywhere on Earth.

How to view the Taurids meteor shower


To find Taurus, look for the constellation Orion and then peer to the northeast to find the red star Aldebaran – which means The Follower. It is the brightest star in the bull’s eye.

Taurids Meteor Shower 2019: Don’t miss this ‘bonfire in the sky’ [live stream]_1
Image via Space.com


The darker, the better, if you can get out of the city and away from light pollution, by all means, do that. Take a blanket or comfortable chair and go early. Your eyes will need about 20 to 30 minutes do adjust to the dark.


You don’t even need any special equipment or a lot of skills to view a meteor shower; all you really need is a clear sky and lots of patience!

Fireballs causing ‘nuke-like explosions


Back in 1908, a Taurid meteor shower flattened a large part of Russia. Known as the Tunguska event, the explosion over Siberia was the biggest ever documented; the equivalent of 185 Hiroshima bombs.


Some scientists believe the Tunguska meteor was once a larger-than-average object within the Taurid shower, based on the object’s predicted trajectory through the atmosphere.


Fear not, nuke-like explosions aren’t on the cards for us in 2019, and viewing the meteor shower should be perfectly safe. Be careful of bug bites, though.

Watch: The Taurids Meteor Shower


These clips are streaming live from Kingman, Arizona