A meteor shower, related to Comet Encke, that produces a lowish but broad activity peak in the mid autumn.
|Main Activity Dates||Early October to Late November|
|Peak Rates||see below|
|Best Observed Rates||broad maximum mid Oct to early Nov|
|Visibility each night (UK)||Visible for most of the night – best around midnight|
|Moonlight issues at Maximum||Full Moon of Nov 4 will hinder observations in early Nov|
The Taurids are associated with the extensive meteor stream of Comet Encke. The meteor stream has been split into two main branches: the Northern Taurids and the Southern Taurids.
Neither branch has a sharply defined date of maximum, although the Southern Taurids tend to be most active around mid October and the Northern Taurids tend to be most active in the first half of November. In some years, the number of bright Taurids is enhanced by the ‘Taurid swarm’ , which contains a higher percentage of larger particles (and hence produces more bright Taurids). 2015 was one such year. No ‘swarm’ activity is due to occur in 2017.
One of the challenges faced by observers in late October and early November is, of course, to not mistake firework rockets being set off around November 5th for fireballs!
Taurids are fairly slow moving (as meteors go) – just under 30km/sec – something that helps draw attention to the brighter ones and which is also of assistance to DSLR and video imagers.
Both Taurid radiants (see the chart below for their location on a particular night) are above the horizon throughout the night, with the best rates likely to be seen around the middle of the night. The Full Moon of Nov 4 will hinder observations in the first week of November (often the best time to see the Taurids). However, a good number of Taurids should be visible from mid October to mid November at times of the night when the moon is absent and, if you are lucky, you could be rewarded by seeing one of the bright flaring Taurids fireballs.