It doesn’t matter that Halloween is over because “fireballs Halloween, like NASAwill continue to be visible in the sky at night for the next few weeks thanks to the meteor shower from the South Taurids.
The meteor shower is expected to peak this Saturday, the 5th. EarthSky. The Taurids are known to produce fireballs very bright and in greater numbers – meteors, which may look like the brightest than the planet Venus.
Rain is expected to bring more fireballs this year, a phenomenon also known as the Taurid Swarm. Southern Taurids usually have only five meteors per hour during its peak, which occurs when the Earth is closer to the center of the debris stream. But every seven years, Jupiter’s gravity pulls on a stream of meteors and causes their numbers to increase.
“With the usual frequency of fireballs, someone would have to be outside for 20 straight hours to see one,” said Robert Lunsford, report coordinator for the American Meteor Society. “With the Taurids, this time can be reduced a little, maybe up to five hours. And if you’re very lucky, you can go out and see one of them in a few minutes. The time of their appearance is completely unpredictable.
Origin of the Taurids
The Taurids were formed by the breakup of a very large comet about 20,000 years ago. Among other debris, this separation created Comet Encke, which orbits the Sun in just over three years, the shortest of any large comet in our solar system. With each passage of the Earth in its short orbit, it leaves behind a trail of debris. This trail includes the Southern Taurids, which are a cluster so large that it takes weeks to pass through the planet.
“Most meteor showers contain fine dust particles. Well, there are also some large particles in the Taurids,” said Bill Cook, director of NASA’s Meteorological Office. “And while the meteor shower is going on, we will not see dust particles, but rock-sized particles, and some football-sized and larger, which, of course, produce extremely bright fireballs.”
see the fireball
According to NASA, the Taurid fireballs are meteors over a meter in diameter and are exceptionally bright. They move slowly because they hit the earth’s atmosphere at a perpendicular angle, so you can see that they travel across the sky for a few seconds, as opposed to the millisecond visibility that most meteors offer us.
According to Lunsford, the brightest and longest-lived meteors break apart as they travel across the sky. Fireballs are often colored and appear red, orange, or yellow.
“It would be like a shooting star,” said Mike Hankey, director of operations for the American Meteor Society and creator of the fireball tracking program. “But instead of being half a second long, it can be three or four seconds long, and instead of being as bright as a star, it can be as bright as the moon, and sometimes even brighter.”
This year, the meteor community has already recorded an above-average increase in fireballs, while NASA has photographed fireballs that appear even brighter than the Moon in the night sky.
According to Lunsford, the best time to go outside and see the fireball will be at 2am (6am GMT) next week. As the Moon approaches the full moon phase scheduled for November 8, its glow will begin to ruin the chances of seeing less intense meteors, but fireballs, due to their size and brightness, can be seen anywhere in the world at any time during the night.
Other space events this year
According to the EarthSky Meteor Shower Guide, you can still see four more meteor showers in 2022:
- November 12: Taurids of the North
- November 18: Leonidas
- December 14: Geminids
- December 22: Ursids
And there are two more full moons in the Old Farmer’s Almanac calendar for 2022:
- November 8: Beaver Moon (maximum occurs during a total lunar eclipse)
- December 7: Cold moon.