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This month’s South Tauridis meteor shower will have bright fireballs in the sky

This month’s South Tauridis meteor shower will have bright fireballs in the sky

A bright fireball is seen over Brkin, Slovenia, on November 12, 2015, during the Taurid swarm. Another swarm is upon us this month, with fireballs visible in the sky throughout November. (Marko Korošec, Solent News, Shutterstock)

Estimated reading time: 4-5 minutes

ATLANTA — It doesn’t matter that Halloween is over, because “Halloween fireballs,” as NASA calls themit can still be seen shining in the night sky for the next few weeks, thanks to the South Tauridis meteor shower.

It is estimated that the highest number of showers will only be on Saturday, November 5. according to EarthSkyand the Taurids are known for producing the brightest and brightest fireballs — meteors that can appear brighter than the planet Venus.

This year’s shower is expected to include an increased number of fireballs, otherwise known as the Taurid Swarm. South Taurids usually there are only about five meteors per hour around its peak, the point at which Earth is closest to the center of the debris flow. But every seven years, Jupiter’s gravity pulls the stream of meteors and causes them to increase in number.

“At a normal rate of fireballs, one would have to sit outside for 20 hours to see them,” said Robert Lunsford, fireball report coordinator for the American Meteor Society. “With the Taurids, (that time) can be reduced quite a bit, maybe to five hours. And if you’re really lucky, you might just go outside and see one within minutes. When they appear is completely unpredictable.”

Origin of the Taurids

Taurids are the result of the breakup of a very large comet about 20,000 years ago. Among other debris, that breakup created Comet Encke, which has an orbit around the Sun of just over three years, the shortest of all the large comets in our Solar System. With each pass of the Earth in its short orbit, it leaves behind a trail of debris. This track includes the Southern Taurides, which are so large that our planet needs several weeks to pass.

“Most meteor showers contain tiny bits of dust. Well, the Taurids … also have some large particles,” said Bill Cooke, head of NASA’s Meteoroid Environment Office. “And you’ll see, while the shower is active, not dust particles, but pebble-sized particles — and some (that) are football-sized and larger, which, of course, produce brilliant, brilliant fireballs.”

Seeing a fireball

Taurid fireballs are meteors larger than a meter in diameter and shine extremely brightly, according to NASA. They move slowly because they hit the Earth’s atmosphere at a vertical angle, so they can be seen moving across the sky for a few seconds, compared to the millisecond visibility provided by most meteors. According to Lunsford, brighter and longer-lasting meteors can be seen fragmenting and disintegrating as they travel across the sky. Often the fireballs are colorful, appearing red, orange, or yellow.

“It would be like a shooting star,” said Mike Hankey, operations manager for the American Meteor Society and creator of its fireball tracking program. “But instead of lasting half a second, it could last three or four seconds, and instead of just being as bright as a star, it could be as bright as the moon — sometimes even brighter.”


It would be like a shooting star. But instead of lasting half a second, it might last three or four seconds, and instead of just being bright like a star, it might be bright like the moon—sometimes even brighter.

–Mike Hankey, American Meteorological Society


This year, the Meteor Society has already seen an above-average increase in fireballs, while NASA has recorded fireballs that appear even brighter than the moon in the night sky.

According to Lunsford, the best time to go out and spot the fireball will be at 2 a.m. local time over the next week. As the moon approaches the full moon phase set for November 8, its brightness will begin to disrupt the chances of seeing fainter meteors, but the 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 data, there are four more meteor showers you can see by the end of 2022 EarthSky’s 2022 Meteor Shower Guide:

• November 12: Northern Taurides

• Nov. 18: Leonidas

• December 14: Geminids

• December 22: Ursidi

And there are two more full moons The Old Farmer Calendar 2022:

• November 8: Beaver Moon (which will peak with a total lunar eclipse)

• December 7: cold month

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