The Taurid meteor shower will treat skywatchers on Halloween night when it unleashes a swarm of fireballs across the night sky just days before its peak later this week.
This shower is composed of two currents: the Southern Taurids which culminate from November 4 to 5; and the Northern Taurids which peak between November 12 and November 13.
The Taurids haven’t been seen since 2015, and NASA predicts this year’s stream will be teeming with glowing fireballs blasting violently into the atmosphere.
The pair of meteor showers are active throughout the night, with meteors from both events coming from the same region of the sky as the constellation Taurus, which lies northwest of Orion.
The meteors that will be visible tonight are called “Halloween fireballs” and are best seen around midnight.
The Taurids have not been seen since 2015 (pictured) and NASA predicts this year’s stream is full of glowing fireballs that will shoot up violently into the atmosphere
Every year, from the end of October, the sky welcomes the meteor shower, nicknamed “the fireworks of nature”.
The Taurids display is created by debris left behind by Comet Encke, named after the astronomer who discovered its annual path in 1819.
Earth passes through part of the current each year, and meteors appear as shooting stars in the sky each October in the southern hemisphere and November in the north.
Dust associated with the comet hits Earth’s atmosphere at 65,000 mph and burns up, creating the Taurid meteor shower.
Bill Cooke, head of NASA’s Meteoroid Environments Office, said in a statement: “The annual Taurid meteor shower is currently unfolding and we are seeing consistent activity in our meteor cameras.”
The Taurid rain is composed of two currents: the Southern Taurids which peak from November 4 to 5; and the Northern Taurids which peak between November 12 and November 13.
Some fireballs have already appeared in the night sky. The images are from meteors above Liverpool
“Individuals should not be surprised if they see a bright meteor or fireball over the next few nights.”
Taurid meteors can be seen anytime the constellation Taurus is above the horizon during the months of September, October, and November.
The best time to look for Taurids is after midnight, when Taurus is high in the sky, and when the sky is dark and clear, with no moonlight to mask the weaker meteors.
Dennis the lifea postdoctoral researcher in meteor physics, predicts that there could be more than 100 million asteroids in the Taurid stream that Earth is currently passing through.
The Taurid shower was visible in different parts of the world, with images and video showing fireballs falling over the UK and the Czech Republic.
A 2017 study proposed that the Taurids meteor shower may contain cosmic fragments of ice and rock large enough to wipe out entire continents.
And one of those fragments could hit Earth in 2022, 2025, 2032 or 2039, the researchers predict.
Researchers from the Astronomical Institute of the Czech Academy of Sciences tracked these fragments.
They found two asteroids, called 2015 TX24 and 2005 UR, which are part of an undiscovered branch of the Taurid debris.
Earth passes through part of the current each year, and meteors appear as shooting stars in the sky each October in the southern hemisphere and November in the north. This image was taken in the UK
Earth only passes through this potentially dangerous branch once every few years, causing more shooting stars.
Future meetings are scheduled for 2022, 2025, 2032 and 2039.
The space rocks measure 650 feet to 900 feet (200 to 300 meters) in diameter and have been placed on the International Astronomical Union’s list of “potentially hazardous” asteroids.
But the Czech team fears the hidden debris field may contain even larger objects.
Writing in an article published on Arxiv, the study authors said: “Given that asteroids tens to hundreds of meters in size pose a threat to the ground even though they are inherently weak, the risk of The impact increases dramatically as Earth encounters the new Taurid branch every few years.
Further studies leading to a better description of this real source of potentially dangerous objects, which may be large enough to cause significant regional or even continental damage on Earth, are therefore extremely important.
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