Every seven years, the Taurid meteor showers produce an outburst of especially bright meteors in an event known as a “fireball swarm.” Such outbursts were reported in both 2015 and 2008, so chances are good for 2022, the American Meteor Society says.
Have you ever heard of the “Halloween Fireballs?” Astronomers call them Taurid meteors. They appear every year from late October through early November when Earth passes through a stream of debris associated with Comet 2P/Encke.
We’re about to see a lot more of these. Forecasters believe that a swarm of Taurid meteoroids is approaching Earth, and it could double the usual rate of fireballs–not only on Halloween, but also through the early weeks of November.
Dan Bush photographed this Taurid exploding over Albany, Missouri:
Taurid meteors are thought to be debris from a giant comet that broke apart in the inner Solar System 10 to 20 thousand years ago. The breakup produced a mixture of dust and larger bodies that are still present today. Comet 2P/Encke itself may be just one of the fragments.
Over the years, Jupiter’s gravity has shepherded some of these meteoroids into a well-defined cloud–the “Taurid Swarm.” It visits Earth every 3 or 7 years.
Previous encounters with the Swarm in 2005 and 2015 produced showers of fireballs observed around the world. The last outburst was 7 years ago, which means 2022 should be a Swarm year, too.
Here’s a interesting video linking the Taurid meteor shower to the origin of Halloween and Day of the Dead festivals…
Blood Red Moon November 7-8 2022
A total lunar eclipse on Nov. 8th will provide dark skies for sighting Taurid fireballs and possible lunar impacts.
In 1975 the Swarm contacted the Moon, making Apollo seismic sensors ring with evidence of objects hitting the lunar surface.
If there’s a repeat strike this year, Nov. 8th might be a good time to look for it.
The Moon’s surface will be darkened by Earth’s shadow during a total lunar eclipse, improving the visibility of any exploding lunar meteors.
Although the Taurid shower typically peaks on Nov. 5th, it is a broad maximum, weeks long.
Prepare now! Stock up on Iodine tablets for the next nuclear disaster…
Any of the nights ahead could produce a Taurid display.
Look up during the hours around midnight; you can expect to see a few fireballs per hour streaking from the horns of Taurus–and many more if the Swarm arrives. [Space Weather]