Northern Lights And Taurid Fireballs


northern lights, delaware, sussex county
Map for viewing the Northern Lights

The northern lights or Aurora borealis may be visible tonight in Delaware and the northeast.  We are just barely in the good section of the map to view this event.  You will need to be away from any areas of light pollution.  You will also need a clear view of the northern horizon and the view will be better in the first half of the night just after dusk, before the activity decreases.  The northern lights are caused by gaseous particles in Earth’s atmosphere colliding with charged particles released form the sun’s atmosphere.  The colors we see are created by different gas particles.  The most common colors are pink and green.  Sometimes red, yellow and purple colors are reported.

Taurids radiant map. fireballs, delaware, sussex county
Taurids radiant map
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While you are looking for the northern lights, this time of year is also the Taurid meteors, which appear as fireballs in the sky.  They are particles left by the trail of  comet 2P/Encke, the parent comet of the the Taurids.  This year we have a better chance to see more fireballs than normal.  These can be as bright as Venus is in our night sky.  They will last for a few seconds and some say we could see up to ten an hour.  The peak will be closer to November 12th, but we should be able to see many until then.  This event always happens from the end of  October to mid November.  The meteors will seem to shoot upwards from the eastern sky, and near midnight they will be higher in the southern sky.  These are not fast meteors, and usually are vivid colors and can fragment before they burn up or disintegrate.  The fireballs are due to larger than normal particles.  Should be a great night of stargazing.

Fish On!!

Rich King




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