Taurid Fireballs

- 10 Comments - In: ,

This weekend and through November 24th should be a good time and try to view fireballs from the Taurid meteor shower. This meteor shower is not known for its strong rates as it usually only produces 5 meteors per hour at best. Rather this display is better known for the colorful fireballs it produces. The Taurids are active throughout October and November but are best seen in late October through mid-November when activity peaks. Taurid meteors may be seen all night long but are best seen near 1:00am local standard time, when the radiant lies highest in the sky. The radiant is the area of the sky in which the meteor seem to originate. At this time of year the radiant lies close to the naked eye open cluster known as the Pleiades or Seven Sisters, which is located in the constellation of Taurus. This cluster appears “dipper-shaped” and is ofter mistaken for the actual Little Dipper (Ursa Minor). Taurid meteors are slower than normal and may last several seconds rather than the normal fraction of a second seen for most meteors. These meteors are remnants of comet 2P/Encke and are though to produce higher rates of fireballs (swarms) in specific years. 2005 and 2008 produced both higher numbers of fireballs with the possibility of 2012 and 2015 also being better than normal years.

If you happen to see a very bright meteor, be certain to fill out a fireball report on the AMS website.

Experienced meteor observers are advised to take advantage of the “dark” of the moon and to observe for unusual activity. Be sure to let us know what you see!

Robert Lunsford

American Meteor Society



  • Jennifer 10 years ago

    Went oh last night from about 8-9pm found Taurus and we saw approx. 5 or 6 meteors (cant remember exact count). But I checked this mornig and NASA said only 10 recorded all night. So it would be highly unlikely that so many of them were during the hour we were out viewing. Perhaps we saw some left over Orionids? I heard that may be possible. Whatever the source it was a fun night with a great show!

    Reply to Jennifer
    • Ricky Sepulveda 10 years ago

      I saw two huge meteors over azle TX around the times 7:30/8:30 they weren’t planes they didn’t have no smoke trails,but they were really bright white. Even in daylight hours is there someone that can explain. Maybe if someone knows better then me

      Reply to Ricky
  • Lisa Jarva 10 years ago

    Mr. Lunsford,
    I am writing in hopes of proving or disproving a possible meteor strike on a neighborhood in Indianapolis,IN.
    I’m sure you’ve seen it on television , an explosion , evidence of a possible shockwave,rumbling and shaking just before the explosion yet no crater to speak of.
    They’ve ruled out a meth lab , natural gas ,and bombs so far.
    ANY comments would be appreciated as I have an entire forum debating this very heatedly at times.
    I checked the log for 2012. Nothing there as I suspected.
    Thank you in advance.

    Reply to Lisa
    • amsadmin 10 years ago

      Lisa and All,

      Large fireballs can produce a sonic booms. They rarely create craters as the normal remnants that make it to the ground are only pebbles and small stones (if anything at all!). So yes this event sounds like a fireball. So far we only have one report from Indiana that may match this event.

      Robert Lunsford
      American Meteor Society

      Reply to amsadmin
  • Geoff Horner 10 years ago

    I was observing for Taurids off and on (going outside for about 15min every hour, sometimes for a couple hours at a time) from the weekend of the 3rd through the 13th, and it seemed to me that most occurred in the hours approaching 1am (sometimes as early as 8 or 9pm), as opposed to the hours after 1am (taking note of which meteors were Taurids, vs. other shower members or sporadics). In other words, they seemed to “fizzle” not long after 1. Have any experts noticed or studied anything like this, that suggests showers are more likely to be active before the radiant is highest in the sky, as opposed to after? I did report a spectacular Taurid fireball around 1230am on the 12th – I photographing using 30sec exposures, but unfortunately that one occurred between shots – oh, how I wish my timing would have been better!!!

    Reply to Geoff
  • Bill 10 years ago

    Here in Kelseyville in Northern CA I’ve gone out several recent nights around 2:00 AM local Pacific time and seen about four slow moving meteors with magnitudes 4 to about -3 near the M45 Pleiades cluster. These are very “satisfying” meteors. Last night while setting up my camera I happened to catch a massive explosion of yellow turning to green in the southern sky about half way from the center belt of Orion and our horizon which is low in that direction. I have made a fireball report. If this was a meteor, it’s trajectory was such that must have been headed directly away from or toward our location.. when it broke up there was a stunningly beautiful shower of lime green remnants. In my memory I’ve seen 3 very notable fire balls in the last 16 years at 16 year intervals pus one rogue shower in about 1992 with multiple sonic booms. This one was by far the most impressive.

    Reply to Bill
  • holly 10 years ago

    at approxametly 11:40pm eastern time i saw a nice sized “fireball”/giant falling star in the east northeast near the horizon. would love to know what it was. location delmar delaware.

    Reply to holly
    • amsadmin 10 years ago


      What you witnessed was a fireball. A fireball is a meteor that is larger than normal. Most meteors are only the size of small pebbles. A meteor the size of a softball can produce light equivalent to the full moon for a short instant. The reason for this is the extreme velocity at which these objects strike the atmosphere. Even the slowest meteors are still traveling at 10 miles per SECOND, which is much faster than a speeding bullet. Fireballs occur every day over all parts of the Earth. It is rare though for an individual to see more than one or two per lifetime as they also occur during the day, on a cloudy night, or over a remote area where no one sees it. Observing during one of the major annual meteor showers can increase your chance of seeing another one of these bright meteors.

      I hope this helps!

      Robert Lunsford
      American Meteor Society

      Reply to amsadmin
  • G 10 years ago

    Saw a giant one last night, November 24 around 10PM, looking North from the San Fernando Valley here in Los Angeles. I’m glad I found this website, because I wondered what the heck it was! It was really big for a falling star, it was bright red with white tail. Biggest I’ve ever seen in my life, I thought may be it was a fallen satellite.

    Reply to G
  • Cindy Moore 10 years ago

    My husband and I saw a very bright and long lasting (we called it a shooting star) it appeared to be closer than usual in the sky over Cleburne, Texas around 9:30 PM on December 4, 2012 and he witnessed a flash on the ground around 6:30 AM this morning from another bright and long lasting meteor which was also witnessed by friends in Azle, TX

    Reply to Cindy

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *