Meteor showers
National Space Centre

Taurid Meteor Shower 2023

  • 8th Nov 2023
  • Author: David Southworth

Shooting stars in the night sky

The radiant of this meteor shower appears to come from the direction of the constellation of Taurus. The best time to view the Taurid meteor shower will be around midnight when the shower’s radiant will be highest in the sky. The Taurids are one of the weaker showers of the year with a rate of only 5 meteors per hour in ideal conditions. Due to the time of year, they are sometimes known as Halloween fireballs.

How to watch from the UK

To watch the Taurid meteor shower, face towards the constellation of Taurus the bull. Make sure to not only look at Taurus, as meteors closer to the radiant have shorter trails so will be more difficult to spot. Scan the skies to catch shooting stars with the most brilliant trails.

The Taurids are actually split into two showers - the North Taurids and South Taurids, caused by two parts of the same debris field. While the South Taurids peaked on 6 November, the North Taurids peak on the evening of 12 November into the early hours of the following morning. With a New Moon on the morning of 13 November, this year will see excellent viewing conditions, weather permitting.

As the Taurids are a long-lasting meteor shower, you don’t need to view them at their peak – they’ll still be active for several weeks after that date.

Taurus will appear in the southern sky late in the evening. It can be found beside the constellation of Orion, with the red star Aldebaran marking the eye of the bull.

Find a dark sky area, wrap up warm, and allow 20 minutes for your eyes to adjust and then scan the skies to enjoy the shooting stars using only the optical tool that nature gave you – your eyes. Meteors are usually too quick and appear all over the sky making them very difficult to view in binoculars or telescopes that have a small field of view.

What is a meteor shower?

Meteor showers occur when the Earth passes through the debris of a comet. The dust and gas left behind by the comet burn up in the atmosphere causing a shooting star or meteor.

The object responsible for the Taurid meteor shower is comet Encke – a small comet whose debris (ice and dust) produces infrequent, slow, and long-lasting meteors.

The debris stream is quite spread out, so it takes the Earth a while to pass through. That’s why the showers are active for a relatively long period of time: the South Taurids between 10 September and 20 November, and the North Taurids between 20 October and 10 December. Because the debris stream has two fragments, we get the two showers with roughly the same peak rates.

Meteor Infographic

Download our National Space Centre Meteor Shower Guide to make sure you are fully prepared!  

Other upcoming meteor showers for 2023 include: 

Comet of Origin: 55P/Tempel-Tuttle
Radiant: constellation Leo
Peak Activity: 17-18 November 2023
Peak Activity Meteor Count: up to 10 meteors per hour

Asteroid of Origin: 3200 Phaethon
Radiant: constellation Gemini
Peak Activity: 13-14 December 2023
Peak Activity Meteor Count: up to 120 meteors per hour

Comet of Origin: 8P/Tuttle
Radiant: constellation Ursa Minor
Peak Activity: Dec. 21-22, 2023
Peak Activity Meteor Count: 5-10 meteors per hour



Happy meteor-gazing!

Full references / credits:

(Banner image) Meteor showers. Credit: © National Space Centre

(1) Radiant of the Taurids. Credit: Stellarium

(2) Taurid Meteor Shower - Joshua Tree, California, 6 November 2015. Credit:  Channone Arif CC BY 2.0 DEED (,_California_-_6_Nov._2015.jpg) 

(3) Meteors infographic. Credit: © National Space Centre