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Look up in the sky over the next few nights and you might catch a glimpse of a passing fireball.
The Southern Taurids meteor shower will peak on Sunday and Monday, giving viewers a chance to see what are commonly called shooting stars flying above our planet.
According to the American Meteor Society, the Southern Taurids meteor shower has been active since September and will reach its peak this week.
“Space rocks” and other debris in the universe – including fragments of comets, comets and even the moon or Mars – are called meteoroids. Meteoroids that enter the Earth’s atmosphere are called meteors.
The Taurid meteor stream, which includes both the Southern Taurids and the Northern Taurids, originates from Comet Enke, a 2.98-mile-wide body that orbits the sun every three years.
The Southern Taurids and Northern Taurids, which are expected to peak next Saturday, account for the increase in fireball reports between September and November every year, the AMS said.
“Fireball” – believe it or not – is the term used by NASA to describe meteors that are brighter or brighter than Venus.
If you want to try to see the Taurid fireball this week, Space.com recommends finding a dark viewing spot away from light pollution and scanning the night sky around Jupiter.
And be patient: while the Taurids can put out unusually bright fireballs, they produce about five meteors an hour at most.