Four meteor showers light up skies in November

Published November 2, 2021, 12:10 PM

by Ellalyn De Vera-Ruiz

The view of the east-northeast portion of the sky during the peak of Leonids on November 18, 2021 at 5:20 a.m. The red solid circle represents the location of the meteor shower radiant. (PAGASA)

Watching four meteor showers while enjoying the cold breeze will greet Filipino skywatchers this month.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said meteor showers can be observed through the naked eyed and there is no need to use special equipment such as telescopes or binoculars.

“However, clear sky condition and dark observation site away from the city lights are necessary to maximize the viewing experience. The altitude of the radiant point in the sky also affects the zenithal hourly rate, which corresponds to the number of meteors that can be observed,” PAGASA explained.

Here are the four showers to look for in the Philippine skies this November, according to the astronomical diary of the PAGASA.

Northern Taurids will be active from Oct. 20 to Dec. 10. It will be visible once the constellation Taurus rises on the eastern horizon at around 5:57 p.m. until the dawn breaks at around 5:33 a.m.

Taurids meteor shower is best viewed when the constellation Taurus reaches about 82° at midnight.

“During the peak activity [on Nov. 12], the first quarter moon will be located in the constellation Aquarius and will soon set at around 5:25 p.m. Thus, the Moon will not interfere with the meteor shower observation,” PAGASA said.

Next up is Leonids, an annual meteor shower occurring when the Earth passes through the debris left by the Comet Tempel-Tuttle–a comet that takes about 33 years to make a complete revolution around the Sun.

“The view of the meteor shower can be enjoyed once the constellation Leo rises in the eastern part of the sky on the night of 17 November at around 11:47 p.m. until before sunrise of the following day at around 5:58 a.m.,” PAGASA said.

Leonids meteor shower is active from Nov. 6 to 30 and will reach its peak on Nov. 17-18.

Another notable shower is the α-Monocerotid meteors that may be observed once the constellation Canis Minor rises above the eastern horizon.

“The number of visible meteor increases as the altitude of the radiant point increases in the sky. This meteor shower is best viewed when the radiant point is highest in the sky at 4:00 a.m. This shower will remain visible until the dawn breaks at around 5:36 a.m. On the night of the peak (Nov. 21), the view of this shower can be significantly hindered by the presence of the waning gibbous Moon,” PAGASA said.

The α-Monocerotid meteor shower will be active from Nov. 15-25.

Lastly, the Orionids meteor shower will become active from Nov. 13 up to Dec. 6.

“November Orionids is best viewed when the radiant is at its highest in the sky about 88° at around 2:00 a.m. until the dawn breaks at around 5:39 a.m.,” PAGASA said.

This meteor shower will reach its peak on Nov. 28.

“The waning crescent phase of the Moon during the night of the peak will produce minimal interference,” PAGASA added.