DR. SKY BLOG

Beta Taurid meteor storm is on its way across the skies in Arizona

Jun 12, 2019, 2:00 PM
(Getty Images Photo/Ethan Miller)...
(Getty Images Photo/Ethan Miller)
(Getty Images Photo/Ethan Miller)

One of the most powerful meteor showers occurs in mid-August, with the famous Perseid meteor stream.

The Perseids, as with other meteor showers, are best viewed from midnight till dawn.

But lurking out in the solar system, is another meteor shower or two, which actually are better that the Perseids.

The problem for observers, is that these two occur during daylight.

The first of these daytime meteor storms is the Beta Taurids.

These are meteors which are from Comet Encke, a short period comet and one of the first comets to have its orbit calculated with some degree of accuracy.

The shower or storm, produces a large amount of debris, which can range in size from pebble-sized objects to upwards of a few hundred feet in diameter.

These “Beta Taurids” as they are known, actually move around the comets orbit in a very dense celestial “swarm.”

One possible Beta Taurid may have been the large asteroid-like object which exploded over the northern portion of Siberia, on June 30, 1908.

This was the famous Tunguska event.

This large piece of space debris actually exploded many miles above the surface of the Earth, with the force of 10 to 15 megatons of explosive energy.

The daylight event flattened some 770 square miles of forest and was one of the most amazing celestial events of all time.

Since there was no way to measure the size of the object in question, many believe that it was between 200 to 600 feet in diameter.

This is in scale with the size of the asteroid which created the famous meteor crater near Winslow, Arizona.

The Beta Taurid shower is best seen from June 5 to July 15, and may have a peak period of activity around June 28.

Stay tuned for possible fireball sightings, during the hours just before dawn in the northeast sky, as well as the northwest sky, just after sunset.

The other major daylight meteor storm, the Arietids, occur June 7-15 and may also have some bright fireballs visible before sunrise and after sunset.

These meteors may be from comet 96P/Machholz.

Here is a video of a daylight fireball that was seen back in 1972 during daylight:

June provides us with some amazing sights in our Arizona skies, as well as Jupiter, rising in the southeast sky at sunset.

To print your own monthly star chart, click here.

To view satellites/dates/times of passage, click here.

Listen to the Dr. Sky Show on KTAR News 92.3 FM every Saturday morning at 3 a.m.

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Beta Taurid meteor storm is on its way across the skies in Arizona