Friday, November 11, 2005

NYC Taurid Fireball - 11 Nov. 2005

Brighter than Venus!

As I was waiting for a late night coffee to brew I went over to a north facing window to look at the stars. I was testing my variable star skills to see which stars are brighter than others.

The skies in N.Y.C. are currently cold & crystal clear.

Seconds after arriving at the open window I saw a brilliant white streak that wasn't your typical meteor. It grew brighter than Venus and appeared to sparkle towards the end of its flight. The whole event lasted less than a second.

It originated from the general direcion of Capella and ended its orbit at a point about halfway up from the northern Pointer in the Big Dipper (α Ursa Majoris - Dubhe) and Polaris. It left a naked eye smoke trail.

Plotting it on SkyMap Pro shows that the path in the sky was at least 25° and the direction it was travelling from leaves no doubt about which comet this originated from - Comet Encke.

My northeast facing window (aka Manhattan north) perfectly framed the end of the line for one of a seemingly endless source of meteors.

I don't think it was a Bolide because the only sound heard was the quickening of my heartbeat.

[Image] Path of Taurid Fireball - 11 Nov. @ ~10:28 PM

Wikipedia: Bolide, Taurids


Anonymous said...

Lucky!!! Thanks Ben. k

Tag said...

NIce catch on the event. I heard fromboth Tom C. & John P. that people have been seeing fireballs around town. I think even Steve L. from S.I. mentions it.

Ben C. said...

K, Lucky indeed. I could've been pouring Half-and-half at the time!

tag, One night I was sitting and viewing the area around Perseus through the bins when 5 people, 2 from the west and 3 from the east all looked up and noticed something streak across the sky in the north. I missed what they saw and think they might have seen a Taurid fireball at the time.


Tom said...

Fireballs are excellent, we had clouds all week.

kara said...

Wow lucky you.
It's amazing we don't see more "fireballs" with all the space debris orbiting us.

Ben C. said...


Sorry to hear about the clouds. This has been the first time I've paid attention to the Taurids. This will likely become something to look forward to each year.


Space debris burning up in the atmosphere would be a great way to clean up the night sky.

BTW, Love the socks! Are they yours?


Rosemary said...

Sounds wonderful! About 10 years ago (OMG, has it been that long?!), I used to go to the mountains out here in CA to watch the meteor showers.

Can you believe they are actually predicted by location and time? Facinating. Thanks for the heads up. Have a wonderful day. ;)