NEWS
11/12/2015 18:53 EST | Updated 11/12/2016 00:12 EST

Taurid meteors, fireballs to light up skies Thursday

If you're lucky enough to be in an area with clear skies tonight, keep your head up because the Taurid meteor shower — best known for its fireballs" — is expected to dazzle on Thursday evening.

Astronomer Tom Landecker says meteors, or shooting stars, occur almost nightly as debris runs into the earth's atmosphere. But these meteors will be different.

The Taurids, which are associated with the Comet Encke, are "a little bit unusual because the bits of stuff we collide with are a little bit bigger," said Landecker who is with the Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory in Okanagan Falls, B.C.

An average meteor is produced by particles as small as a grain of sand, but he says when they're as big as a grain of rice, they create what are known as fireballs.

"Sometimes they're so bright you can actually see what looks like a smoke trail behind them," Landecker told CBC Radio's Daybreak South.

He says under the right conditions, you could see up to 10 or 15 meteors per hour tonight.

Where to look

There were already sightings of fireballs in Saskatchewan earlier this week although chances tonight are slimmer.

Forecasts suggest B.C., Alberta and Atlantic Canada have the best chance of catching the meteor shower in Canada.

Landecker recommends going to an area with no lights and giving your eyes 30 minutes to adjust to darkness. 

Although the name Taurid comes from the constellation Taurus, Landecker says you shouldn't just look at that set of stars.

"All the shooting stars, the meteors, appear to spread out from Taurus … just look at the sky right out ahead."

To hear the full interview listen to the audio labelled Taurid meteor shower 2015 with the CBC's Daybreak South.