Nov 13, 2010

Taurid meteors, get your binoculars ready.

WHEN: Over peak periods between 22:00 and dawn 

The radiant positions of the Northern and Southern Taurids throughout November in the constellation of Taurus -look out for bright fireballs!

 THE TAURID METEOR Shower is active at the start of November and, with a new Moon on the 6th, the conditions are favorable this year. Shower meteors appear to emanate from a single area of the sky known as the shower radiant, but in the case of the Taurids there are two separate radiants.

The Northern Taurids are active from 12 October to 2 December and show peak activity from 4-7 November. The Southern Taurids are active from 17 September to 27 November and show peak activity from 30 October to 7 November, Even at their peak, both showers are relatively weak with zenithal hourly rates of around 7 meteors per hour. This means you might see 1-3 meteors per hour if you're lucky. Low though these figures are, the Taurids do have a couple of compelling features that definitely make them worth watching out for.

First, the peak of both showers lasts over several nights. Contrast this with the August Perseids, which show a sharp rise in activity over just one night. Second, it is thought that the main swarm of sand grain-sized particles that give rise to the Taurids is accompanied by a swarm of pebble-sized particles. These can produce meteor fireballs - a spectacular sight.

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