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For the northern hemisphere observers, November is fireball season. This month, keep an eye out for two sure-fire annual meteor showers, and—just maybe—a wild card outburst from the obscure Alpha Monocerotids worth watching out for.
First up is the November Taurids. This shower exhibits a broad peak, and actually has two closely spaced meteor shower radiants for the northern and southern Taurids. Radiating from the constellation of Taurus the Bull, the November Taurids peaked right around the morning of Tuesday November 12th, and are currently active this week. Though the brilliant moon just passed full on November 12th, the Taurids can definitely hold their own, as the shower is notorious for its enhanced number of fireballs.
Something - Stream - NASA - Meteoroid - Environment
Indeed, something is definitely up with this stream, as NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office—which calculates the final orbits and identity of meteors observed by its all-sky camera network—displayed a definite uptick in Taurid fireball activity in early November 2019. Trace a bright fireball back to the constellation of the Bull, and you've probably spotted a Taurid. The source for the Taurid fireballs is short period comet 2P/Encke, and possibly sub-fragment 2004 TG10.
Next up are the Leonids. A mild-mannered shower in most years, the Leonids are prone to great 'meteor storms' around once every 33 years. The last such outburst occurred centered around 1999. We watched the 1998 Leonids while deployed to Kuwait, with a zenithal hourly rate approaching 1,000 (definitely meteor storm territory) near sunrise. And though 2019 isn't a 'storm year," it's always worth keeping an eye out for this shower, just in case. We passed the mid-point between Leonid storms in 2015, and if the late 1990s were any indication, we can expect enhanced rates leading up through the late 2020s. The Leonids radiate from the backwards question mark asterism of the Sickle, which rides...
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