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From Arizona, 2 Taurid fireball photos

First 2 Taurid fireball photos we’ve seen this year, but we’re expecting more. These 2 photographers, 100 miles apart, likely saw the same bright meteor.

Taurid fireball on the evening of October 21, 2017 – 10:27 p.m. – from Joanne West at Gold Canyon, Arizona.

As the Orionids were peaking this past weekend, at least two members of the EarthSky community caught bright meteors in the long-lasting Taurid shower. The two meteor photos on this page appear to show the same bright meteor, although these photographers were separated by about 100 miles. Joanne West, whose image is above, said she caught her fireball at 10:27 p.m. on October 21 and wrote:

Had camera aimed at eastern sky in dark desert area near Superstition Mountains in Gold Canyon. I had been making 20-second exposures continually for about 30 minutes. Grace was with me as my camera shutter happened to be open when this fireball came out of the sky from the Taurus constellation.

Nikon D750, 20mm Nikon lens. Processed the raw file to adjust the foreground brightness and darken the highlights of the meteor.

Thanks, Joanne! Meanwhile, some 100 miles (about 150 km) to the south, Eliot Herman in Tucson, Arizona also caught a bright Taurid fireball at 10:27 p.m. on the evening of October 21 …

Taurid fireball caught on the evening of October 21 – 10:27 p.m. – by Eliot Herman in Tucson, Arizona.

It appears he and Joanne saw the same fireball. As reports from the American Meteor Society often show, a bright fireball can be seen across several states nearly simultaneously. Eliot wrote on his Flickr page:

Captured in Tucson, Arizona foothills using a Nikon D810 and Sigma 8mm lens at iso 2500 for 15 secs on a stationary tripod. Surprisingly, no smoke trail followed for this fireball.

Quite a night three bright meteors and more than a dozen others captured.

Here’s an all-sky movie of the entire night: this meteor is at edge of image frame 467.

Eliot sent along the link for this fireball sighting at the American Meteor Society. At least two other people saw it, too, and reported it to that group.

The Taurids – known for producing a significant number of fireballs, or very bright meteors – are a long-lasting shower that will continue throughout November. Eliot – who follows meteor showers carefully and records many thousands of images of them with his automatic camera set-up – told us he’s heard the Taurids may produce a good display in 2017.

The Taurid meteors consist of two streams, the South Taurid and North Taurid meteors. Both streams appear to originate from the constellation Taurus the Bull. Read more: Watch for Taurid fireballs

Bottom line: At least two members of the EarthSky community caught bright Taurid meteors last weekend. In fact, they likely caught the same bright meteor, although they were separated by about 100 miles.

Deborah Byrd

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