Last night marked the beginning of activity from the Taurid meteor shower complex. Regular readers have probably noticed that meteors from the Antihelion source were reported almost nightly, that is until last night. A brief summary of the Antihelion source is included in the “Sept 12/13th and Antihelion meteors” post. From that post…
“They appear to come from the part of the sky opposite the Sun and usually do not originate from any one specific comet. Over the millennia many comets have been releasing dust that are visible as meteors when they enter the Earth’s atmosphere. Over time this dust will move away from the orbit of their parent comet. The Antihelions can be thought of as orphan dust particles from 1000s of years worth of short-period comets whose perihelion (closest distance to the Sun) is within the Earth’s orbit (less than 1 AU or Earth-Sun distance). They are inbound particles headed towards their perihelion.”
There are times throughout the year when meteors from the Antihelion source are dominated by meteors released by a single comet. From late September through late November, meteors from Comet Encke will overwhelm the usual number of orphan Antihelions. Since it is very difficult to differentiate between Taurids and non-Taurid Antihelions (at least with my camera), all meteors from the Antihelion region of the sky will be cataloged as Taurids.
Future posts will address exactly what the Taurids are, why there are two branches of the Taurids (Northern and Southern), and why Comet Encke is one of the most enigmatic comets known.
Date TotalTime TOT SPO NTA STA DAU 2008-09-25 UT 10h 18m 20 18 1 0 1
TOT – total # of meteors detected
SPO – Sporadics (meteors not affiliated with any particular meteor shower)
NTA – Northern Taurids
STA – Southern Taurids
DAU – δ-Aurigids (Delta Aurigids)