Catch The “Halloween Fireball” Meteor Shower

Posted on: 5:37 pm, October 30, 2012, by

ST. LOUIS, MO (KPLR) – Eric Gustafson is getting out his telescope and getting ready for the Halloween fireballs.

“And it’s a meteor shower that’s caused by a comet called Comet Enk.  So basically as Comet Enk orbits the sun it leaves behind a stream of debris and that stream of debris comes close enough to our orbit that we go through it.” said Planetary Astronomer Eric Gustafson.

The Taurid meteor showers happen from mid October through mid November. Taurid meteors are actually little bits of a comet, no bigger than a grain of sand, smashing into the our atmosphere.

“It peaks everytime around Halloween, in fact the Southern stream starts today on the 30th.  So definitely during Halloween when it’s a good moonless night you’ll have a good chance to see some meteors.”said Eric Gustafson.

There is a daytime stream called the Beta Taurids. But, to see those you need a radio telescope, which we all have in our cars.

“So periodically you might be listening to your favorite radio station and you hear another one bleed through or a little “Woop” sound.  That’s actually a meteor distorting the radio signal as it’s bouncing off of our ionisphere.” said Eric Gustafson.

You can get a glimpse of the Halloween fireballs with Gustafson this Friday night at the Science Center. They can give you the science behind spooky lights in the sky.

Patrick Clark, News 11.