Taurid Fireball and Aurora 11.03.15 0129hrs PST

Taurid Fireball and Aurora via Flickr

I’ll try this weekend in Paradelle to see the North Taurid meteors. They are not the best known of meteor showers, but they are long-lasting showers. They have a sister shower, the South Taurids, and between the two they run from late October into November.

Tonight is the nominal peak of the North Taurids and it should be strongest in the hours around midnight local time.

But this neighborhood is not optimal for viewing – too much light pollution from cities, and tonight the waning crescent moon in the sky from midnight on won’t help.

But as with many celestial events – Full Moons at noon, distant planets, distant stars, the Milky Way – even if I can’t see it, I find comfort in knowing where to look and that it is out there.

The North Taurid meteors’ radiant point (origin) is in the constellation Taurus the Bull. It is near the Pleiades star cluster, also known as the Seven Sisters, in Taurus.  But you don’t need a star chart to see the meteors as they appear all over the sky. The Taurids are known for having some very bright fireballs. A fireball is another term for a very bright meteor, generally brighter than magnitude -4, which is about the same magnitude of the planet Venus as seen in the morning or evening sky. That’s quite bright and very visible.

Taurus rises over the northeast horizon around 7 to 8 p.m. at mid-northern latitudes and a few hours later for the Southern Hemisphere.  Give them a look.