(Possible) Taurid Fireball Meteor Shower


November 4, 2023 - November 5, 2023    
All Day

The second quarter moon will block most of the dim meteors this year. But if you are patient, you may still be able to catch a fewgood ones.

Keep your fingers crossed! Every now and then (like in 2008) the Taurid meteor shower — normally modest — produces spectacular fireballs. There seems to be a seven year periodicity with these fireballs. 2008 and 2015 both produced remarkable fireball activity.

The meteoroid streams that feed the Southern (and Northern) Taurids are very spread out and diffuse. Thus the Taurids are extremely long-lasting (September 28 to December 2 in 2022) but usually don’t offer more than about five meteors per hour. That is true even on their peak nights. The Tauridsare, however, well known for having a high percentage of fireballs, or exceptionally bright meteors. Plus, the two Taurid showers – Southern and Northern – augment each other. In 2022, the expected peak night of the South Taurid shower is that of November 4-5, but the waxing gibbous moon will be bright at 87% illumination. Peak viewing will thus be inthe pre-dawn morning of November 5, just after the moon has set at 3 a.m.

The North Taurids meteor shower is (October 13 – December 2 in 2022) but modest, and the peak number is forecast at about five meteors per hour. The North and South Taurids combine to provide a nice sprinkling of meteors throughout October and November. Typically, you see the maximum numbers at or around midnight, when Taurus the Bull is highest inthe sky. Taurid meteors tend to be slow-moving but sometimes very bright. In 2022, just as for the South Taurids, the bright moon interferes with your viewing. The meteor peak takes place just after full moon and the waning gibbous moon rises a bit later every night, providing dark skies only a few hours after nightfall.

The South and North Taurid meteors continue to rain down throughout the following week, but the moon will keep getting fuller, so the best viewing is during mornings beforethe peak rather than after.

The Taurids is unusual in that it consists of two separate streams. The first is produced by dust grains left behind by Asteroid 2004 TG10. The second stream is produced by debris leftbehind by Comet 2P Encke.