I wasn’t sure I was going to say anything about the Taurid meteor shower, which is going on now, because I find most meteor showers take some planning, are a bit tough to really get into sometimes, and are often kind of underwhelming. I’ve read the Taurids are different, though. Fewer meteors, but the ones there are are remarkable, bigger, brighter, and slower. They’re actually moving faster than the earth, but in roughly the same direction, so they’re catching up with us from behind rather than slamming into us from ahead. This makes them look like they’re moving more slowly across the sky.
I was standing outside a few minutes ago, just enjoying a gorgeous clear sky and a great view of the Pleiades and the Hyades rising, when I saw a huge, very bright meteor streak across the sky. It burned very brightly for a few seconds before clearly breaking up overhead and disappearing. I wonder, if I didn’t know what was going on, if I’d have been worried that it would hit someone. It was unlike anything I’d ever seen. My wife and I had time to say things like “Wow,” and “Man!” and “Thanks for taking the trash out. Were you able to make the kids’ lunches, too?” before it went dark.
If you’re interested, and I encourage you to be interested, sometime between now and the middle of November, grab a jacket and tonight’s trash, head out, and look east. The Taurids, which come from the junk in the tail of comet 2P/Enke, seem to originate from Taurus, which gives them their name. The Pleiades is easy to find, and is in Taurus. Give it some time, and hopefully you’ll see a couple of them. I only saw one, plus another more ordinary one before I decided it was beer o’clock.
I’m a convert now, and might need to go back out tonight to have another look.