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The Taurid “swarm” is still going strong this month, with bright meteors called fireballs can be seen around the world in the night sky.
The Southern Taurids peaked last week, with fireball sightings lingering throughout the first week of November, but it’s not over yet. The Taurid meteor shower consists of two streams and the Northern Taurid meteor showers are predicted to peak on Saturday, according to EarthSky.
“Taurids only peak at maybe five meteors per hour, but there’s always the chance that one in five is a fireball, brighter than any other,” said Robert Lunsford, fireball reporting coordinator. any star or planet in the sky. American Meteor Association. “Only the sun and moon are brighter than normal fireballs, so they’re pretty spectacular when you see one.”
The Southern Taurids are active from about September 23 to November 12, while the Northern Taurids are active from about October 13 to December 2. When two showers are active simultaneously, there may be an increase. fireballs, especially in a year the Taurid swarm such as this one.
Showers reach their respective peaks at the points where the Earth is closest to the center of each outflow. The swarm results when Jupiter is close enough to pull the currents with its gravity, causing the debris to condense and create a plume of fireballs. The last time this happened was in 2015 and before that was in 2008, creating a the seven years repeat that meteor society predicts will happen again in 2022.
“It was a very interesting rain that produced a lot of fireballs,” said Mike Hankey, operations manager for the Meteor Society of America and creator of the fireball tracking program. “It has always been known for its fireballs, but we can definitely see the data increase on a daily basis this month. There have been a lot of fireballs already. ”
The Taurids radiate from the direction of the constellation Taurus, although it is best not to look in that area as the meteor trails last for the shortest amount of time afterward. Fireballs will be seen all over the skyand they won’t be disturbed by the waning of the bright full moon on November 8, as they can clearly see most elements of the night sky.
The Southern and Northern Taurids are both derived from components of Comet Encke, which has the shortest orbit around the sun of any major comet in our solar system at a little over three years. . Every time Encke passes Earth in its orbit, it leaves behind a new trail of debris, making it a major producer of meteorites. The deformation was so great that it took our planet several weeks to pass through the meteor shower.
Comet Encke will return in October 2023.
Taurid meteors tend to be slow moving but sometimes very bright, depending on their size. According to NASA, meteors larger than one meter (3.3 feet) tend to be the slowest and most luminous. Fireballs can be seen moving across the sky in seconds, while most meteors are only visible for milliseconds. Fireballs are often described as being colorful, either red, orange, or yellow.
“You don’t always see fireballs, but there are meteors every night of the year,” says Lunsford. “It’s something you can do inexpensively. You don’t even need a telescope; Just your eyes are perfect. ”
Follow EarthSky’s Guide to the 2022 Meteor Shower. Here are the showers and their predicted peaks:
• November 18: Leonids
• December 14: Geminids
• December 22: Crossing land
There is another full moon day on Old farmer’s almanac calendar for 2022: cold moon on December 7.