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Post by Chicago Astronomer Joe on Nov 2, 2005 4:33:07 GMT -6
Taurid Shower Displays Fireball Activity
On a recent Mars observation session at the Adler Planetarium on the 28th of October, we witnessed two bright fireballs in the eastern skies arount 10:30 pm-ish. These could have been fragments of the Taurids heating up. The following is data is on this fall shower...
The Taurids have been identified as a very old meteor stream. There are two branches of the Taurids active during its long duration in the Autumn months. Taurids are active from October 12 to December 2. They reach maximum during October 30 to November 7
Their name derives from the fact that the Taurids appear to radiate from the constellation Taurus the Bull. (To find Taurus, follow the three well-known stars that form the belt of Orion up to a bright, orange-red star known as Aldebaran.)
The Taurid meteor stream formed over the past 20,000 to 30,000 years. Today it consists of the comet Encke, which is thought to be a remnant of a much larger comet, and a conglomeration of asteroids, meteorites, and assorted fragments of celestial matter.
Relative to other, more well-known meteor showers such as the Leonids, which will streak across the sky later this month at speeds over 37 miles (60 kilometers) per second, the Taurids appear slow. They move across the sky at about 17 miles (27 kilometers) per second.