Sept 24/25 Meteors and the Beginning of the Taurids

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)


  1. At exactly 11 P.M Central Daylight Time a green ball of flame or fire sped across the sky over Baton Rouge Louisiana from north to south. It lit up the back yard as a flash of not-too-distant lightning might. That’s actually what caught my eye and caused me to look out the window, as I a sat in a dark room listening to the radio. It looked kind of like what comes out of a Roman candle fireworks. I listened for a rumble or boom for several minutes after, but heard none.

  2. Around 11:00pm in southern Louisiana I was looking towards the south and an object was falling from the eastern sky downward towards the west. I thought it was a firework, but i didnt hear any sound so i called a friend that is offshore in the Gulf of Mexico and quite a few people out there saw it a lot closer or clearer. Like a burning ball with green blue color flames then burned out.

  3. hi, on the evening of 25th september at approx 10.15pm my family and myself saw what we could only describe as a ball of fire with a huge trail of smoke/vapour . it was like nothing that i or anyone i have spoken to have seen before. it was amazing. we are from the isle of wight, south of england.

  4. At 8:10 PM EDT, a bright green fireball apeared in the eastern sky of Tampa Florida, traveling from north to south. It was the brightest fireball I have ever witnessed. I am wondering if phosphorus could have anthing to do with the coloration.

  5. Hi,
    On 25th September 2008 at approx 22:55 French time, we saw a huge meteor appearing as a ball of fire comming from the horizon pointed to by the tail of the great bear. The meteor appeared to break up into smaller units going over Mont Ventoux. It was an amazing sight. We have not seen anything like this before. We where near Maloucene, Vaucluse.

  6. Hi,

    I saw the same thing around 10:45 – 11:00PM CST while driving southbound on I-59 towards Poplarville from Hattiesburg, Mississippi. The sky lit up brightly and i was able to watch it through my windshield. Scared the crap out of me because it was so unexpected but it was a beautiful sight.

  7. I was driving East on SR 50 from Brooksville toward I75 sometime around 8pm on Friday, September 26th, 2008. It appeared very blue to me with a long tail, traveling North to South. Probably far away, but it appeared as if it would land before it reached Tampa. One of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen. Huge, unlike the “shooting stars” I’ve wished on in the past. Glad to see others saw the same thing.

  8. on oct. 20 during the orionid meteor shower me n my cuz saw a shinning object beleived to be a star but not sure it didnt move but it flashed different colors lik orange green blue n it was not a helicopter or plane wat was it please gimme an answer

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