2018 Taurids

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
Peak ZHR 10
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 Minor: new Moon is on 7 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 2018.

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 30 km/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 Moon is new on Nov 7  which is often the best time to see the Taurids.

Taurid radiant locations
Taurid radiant locations