Northern Illinois May See Some Halloween Meteor Showers
According to tonight's Halloween forecast, the skies above Northern Illinois should be remarkably clear, which will give all of us a better chance at catching yet another of 2022's meteor showers.
What's really cool about tonight, and the next several nights, is that every 7 years or so, Earth passes through a certain dense part of cosmic dust that can produce some seriously cool fireballs just in time for Halloween and a few days afterwards.
So, tonight while you're out and your mask gets all sweaty and uncomfortable, pull it off and look up, because you may see something pretty cool. And you'll give your sweaty face a much needed break.
The Taurid Meteor Shower Is Created By Earth Passing Through A Stream Of Debris From A Comet Called "Encke," And NASA Calls The Taurids Very Active This Year
We haven't gotten a swarm of Taurid meteors since 2015, so the experts seem to think that we're overdue for a pretty cool and colorful show in the skies above Northern Illinois.
The Taurids, according to NASA, are created when dust from that boringly named comet Encke hits Earth's atmosphere at around 65,000 miles per hour and burns up in spectacular fashion:
Taurid meteors tend to be larger than the norm, which means they are bright, many being fireballs. They also penetrate deeper into Earth’s atmosphere than many other shower meteors. For example, Orionids typically burn up at altitudes of 58 miles, whereas Taurids make it down to 42 miles.
If You've Got A Decent Telescope Or Binoculars, You May See Something Really, Really Cool
And that would be the Taurid meteors actually striking the moon. I've never seen that phenomenon, and would totally be into the idea of checking it out.
Because they are big and possess a goodly amount of energy (imagine a 1 inch hunk of ice moving at 63,000 mph — 29 times faster than a bullet from an M-16 rifle), they produce decent quantities of light when they strike the surface of the Moon. This makes Taurid lunar impacts easy to see with Earth-based telescopes; in fact, the first lunar meteoroid impact observed by NASA was a Taurid back on November 7th of 2005, and we detected it with a 10″ telescope of the same type used by amateurs all over the world!