How to watch the Taurid and Leonid meteor showers in Switzerland
In November 2022, people in Switzerland will be able to look up into the night sky and see two spectacular meteor showers - the Taurids and the Leonids. Here’s when the meteor showers will be visible in Switzerland and how many shooting starts you will be able to see.
Two meteor showers visible in Switzerland in November 2022
Not one, but two meteor showers will be visible in the night sky over Switzerland in November 2022, with the Taurids and Leonids set to overlap each other. What’s more, unlike the Perseid and Draconid meteor showers, the peaks are not going to be obscured by a full moon.
The Taurid meteor shower is caused by the debris left behind by the Encke’s Comet, which Earth travels through every autumn. Because the debris is so spread out, it takes the Earth quite a while to pass through it all, meaning the meteor shower lasts for a pretty long time. The Leonid meteor shower, on the other hand, is associated with Comet 55P, also known as the Tempel-Tuttle, and gets its name from the Leo constellation.
When is the peak of the Taurid meteor shower in Switzerland?
The Taurid meteor shower is expected to peak at 7pm on November 12, 2022. However, your best chance to see the shooting stars is at around 1am on November 13, as that is when Switzerland is optimally positioned to see the shower.
At its peak, around four to five meteors will be visible from the ground, provided that the weather in Switzerland plays ball. At 1am on November 13, the majority of meteors will emerge in the sky to the south-south-east, in between the Taurus, Aries and Perseus constellations.
When will the Leonid meteor shower peak in Switzerland?
Once the peak of the Taurids has passed, the far more impressive Leonid meteor shower will peak in Switzerland on the night of November 17 to 18. While it promises to be an impressive sight, unlike the Taurids, the Leonid shower will only be visible in the alpine nation from 11pm at night until around 7am in the morning, as the start of the shower will be beyond the horizon.
This means that, despite the peak of the shower being at 1am on November 18, your best chance to see a large number of meteors is when the shower is highest in the night sky over Switzerland, expected to be shortly before dawn at around 6am on November 18. At that time, stargazers will be treated to up to 15 meteors an hour, with the majority coming from the east-south-east in between the Cancer and Leo constellations.
All in all, the Taurids will be sticking around for a while, with the shower lasting from October 20 right through to December 10. The Leonids lasts from November 6 to November 30, completely overlapping with the Taurid meteor shower.
How can I best see the meteor showers this November?
During the peak of the Taurid meteor shower, the moon will be four days past being full, making it slightly more challenging to see the shooting stars. However, the more impressive Leonid shower is expected to be completely free of lunar interference during its peak.
To improve your odds of getting a glimpse of some shooting stars, make sure you head out of the city to an area with little to no artificial light, like a national park, hill or - if you are really lucky - the top of a mountain.