Facebook Twitter

Why are there fireballs in the sky?

Northern Taurid meteor shower has created fireballs in the sky.

SHARE Why are there fireballs in the sky?
In this picture with a long shutter speed stars move on the night sky during the Perseid meteor shower in the Pineios Lake near the village of Velanidi, Peloponnese, Greece, late Thursday, Aug. 13, 2020.

In this picture with a long shutter speed, stars move on the night sky during the Perseid meteor shower in the Pineios Lake near the village of Velanidi, Peloponnese, Greece, late Thursday, Aug. 13, 2020.

Petros Giannakouris, Associated Press

You may see some fireballs in the sky this week. But don’t be alarmed. It’s not the end of the world — as far as we know — but rather the Northern Taurid meteor shower.

What’s going on?

The Northern Taurid meteor shower will hit its peak on Nov. 11 and Nov. 12, according to the American Meteor Society.

  • The meteor shower began in October.
  • The shower should be visible in the Northern Hemisphere.

People can expect to see five fireballs every hour during the peak nights. But they’re fine to look at, and there’s no danger presented, according to CNN.

Why is it happening?

Earth will be traveling through the debris stream of comet 2P/Encke, which creates the meteor shower, said Bill Cooke Jr., who heads NASA’s Meteoroid Environment Office, according to CNN.

Key quote:

  • “The Taurids are rich in fireballs, so if you see a Taurid it can be very brilliant and it’ll knock your eyes out, but their rates absolutely suck,” Cooke told Space.com. “It’s simply the fact that when a Taurid appears it’s usually big and bright.”

What’s next?

Cooke told CNN that people should look ahead to the Geminids meteor shower in December, too.

  • “This year, the Geminids are going to be great because there’s going to be no moon around to spoil the show,” Cooke said.