Taurid Shooting Stars
A meteor shower, or swarm, is created by the left over debris from a comet, known as a dust trail, that enters the Earth's atmosphere and can be seen as a spectacular light show in the night skies. Because the shower tends to radiate outwards from a common point in the sky, showers are named after the constellation at the centre of the radiant. So, although the fun name for this shower is the Halloween Fireballs, the official name is the Taurids Meteor Shower, from the constellation of Taurus the Bull, and the shower originates from the Comet Encke.
Times to see Taurids
Because the Taurids meteor stream is very large and spread out, the Earth takes a while to pass through it, making it visible over an extended period of time. It also features a distinct North and South stream. The North stream is best seen between October 12 to December 2 with the peak being the night of November 11. The South stream lasts from September 25 to November 25 with the peak being on November 5. Expect to see about 5-7 meteors per hour. This may not sound like a lot, but because the particles are large, they tend to be exceptionally bright and often have trails of smoke behind them, making it well worth the wait.
For the number crunchers, the Taurids move across the sky at a rate of about 27 kilometres per second or 97000 kilometres per hour. The remnants of the comet were caused by disintegration that took place over 30000 years ago. Every comet stream has a peak and the Taurids have an activity cycle that peaks every 3000 years, so expect the next peak in the year 3000AD. If you enjoy adding a touch of the mysterious, some astronomers link the dates of these peaks to the creation of megalith structures like Stonehenge, that are still neither fully understood nor explained.