MIAMI (CBSMiami) – There is a pretty amazing celestial event taking place in the next couple of days. It’s the Northern Taurid meteor showers that will light up the night sky with its dazzling fireballs. Unfortunately, the next few nights will be mostly cloudy in South Florida so it’ll be tough gazing at the stars.
The clouds and chance of showers is still due to Tropical Storm Eta which is moving over the eastern Gulf waters and impacting the west coast of Florida Wednesday and moving across Central Florida on Thursday.
The Northern Taurid meteor showers peak on November 11 and 12, according to the American Meteor Society. They are visible from the Northern Hemisphere, when there aren’t clouds in the way.
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There is also the Leonids meteor shower that lights up the sky every year from November 6 to November 30 with its peak on November 17. The shower brings bright, colorful meteors that travel at speeds of 44 miles per second — some of the fastest all year, according to NASA.
So what’s the difference between a fireball and a meteor?
Leonids are famous for their fireballs and Earthgrazer meteors. Fireballs are massive explosions of light and color, longer than an average meteor, while Earthgrazers are meteors that streak close to the horizon line, known for long and colorful dust tails. Under ideal conditions, the Leonid meteor shower produces between 10 and 20 visible meteors per hour.
The Northern Taurid meteors streak across the sky at 18 miles per second, which is slower than the average meteor.
Although the Northern Taurids meteor shower is peaking now, the shower will continue through December 10.
The best time to spot meteor shower activity is after midnight but before dawn and away from city lights.
If you miss the Taurid meteor showers, not to worry: The Geminids meteor shower will be peaking on Dec. 13 – 14.