We have been showed a wonderful set of treats this year, and the Taurid meteor shower will set the night skies ablaze for further entertainment of star gazers and astronomers.
- The Taurid meteor shower is caused due to Earth’s passing in comet Encke’s trail
- It happens each year between October and November, but peaks in activity once every 7 years
- This year, it began on October 31st and will likely last until November 10th
It has been a festival of lights this year, but it’s not over yet. Each year, from the end of October, through November, and the beginning of December, the beautiful sight of the Taurid meteor shower streaks across the sky. It sends flashes of light, and displays that are often brighter than the moon itself. It’s a festival of colors that actually last more than a few moments.
For meteors, the general rule is ‘blink and you miss it’. However, the Taurids provide a different sort of spectacle.
The Taurid meteor shower originates in the Taurus constellation, and it’s rather famous for the fireballs it produces. The International Astronomical Union defines a fireball as “a meteor that is brighter than any of the planets”. It provides an exceptional display across the darkened skies, and may be easily spotted. Unlike other meteors, they’re not fast. In fact, the vivid coloring and brightness could be seen well before they disintegrate.
The Taurids are a result of our planet moving through the path of debris left behind by comet Encke. Each year, it orbits the sun and Earth runs through the bits of dust and ice that streak so beautifully across our skies. The pieces of debris travel through our atmosphere at approximately 62,000 miles per hour. They heat up to the point of glowing, producing the bright show we can see from Earth.
It produces a number of particularly spectacular fireballs. They can occur around 20 times per hour under the most ideal conditions. This year, people can expect the festival of lights to sometimes be found across the sky. It’s especially expected since the Taurid meteor shower generally peaks once every 7 years.
Since the last time it did was in 2008, it seems due for it to arrive with an excellent display of bright meteors.
According to chief of NASA’s Meteoroid Environments Office, it’s going on right now. This year’s shower began on October 31st, appropriately named the “Halloween fireballs”. There have already been several sightings in Poland, Thailand, the United Kingdom, and the United States. More are expected.
This year’s Taurid meteor shower is said to last until November 10th, so there’s plenty of time to catch the magnificent and colorful fireballs light up the sky.
Image source: cloudfront.net