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back to article Taurid meteors promise Guy Fawkes fireball show

Aficionados of meteor showers should cast their eyes heavenwards on 5 and 12 November for what are expected to be "unusually good" displays from the Taurids, possibly including fireball-inducing larger meteors colliding terminally with Earth's atmosphere. The Taurid meteors - so named because they appear to emanate from the …

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Silver badge

meteors, fireworks, clouds - how can you tell?

There's a long tradition of talking up astronomical events: comets are particularly prone to hype. Meteor showers, too. However all these "spectacular" events, with their fireballs and what-not assume that the observer lives somewhere with pristine, dark skies - not a streetlight in sight. They also assume that the sky will be moonless (which, to be fair it is for this particular event) and that it will be cloudless. The promoters of this stuff also make the assumption that their readers give a damn.

Sadly, in the UK hardly any of these conditions are ever met. We have terrible light-pollution (inevitable when you get large groups of people living close together and demanding the "safety" that streetlights offer) and even worse cloud-cover. Couple this with the fireworks that are a certainty for the next week or so and you have impossible conditions for seeing anything in the sky. The only possible exceptions are late-night flights and police helicopters - though hopefully the latter have the sense to steer well clear while fireworks are available!

So far as giving a damn goes, maybe the first few times that a comet, or nova, or meteor shower gets mentioned, but after freezing your bits off, looking for apparitions that simply don't appear, most people give up and develop a skepticism for astronomical events that kills off any credibility the scientists and/or enthusiasts making these claims might have had.

What we need is a bit more honesty from these folks, enthusiasm is nice, but a realistic appraisal of what you might see is better.

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Anonymous Coward

(untitled)

Well I for one have no doubt it will coincide with one of those unusually good cloud covers. They always do.

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@ Pete

Well i always go out and watch these events and unless it's overcast always manage to see something. And i live in the centre of Southampton.

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Kit

Look and see

Light pollution is definitely a problem when looking for a meteor shower, but it is fairly easily dealt with. Get in the car and get out of town! I've been able to watch meteor showers in a field just off the M11 and only 5 miles from Stanstead airport. Admittedly, not in my London backyard, but hardly in a pristine, dark skies environment.

Clouds, on the other hand, they're definitely a problem! Especially in Britain in November.

But I reckon there's a good reason these things are talked up, thats because they're fantastic things to see (when you can see them). Pisses all over the next door neighbours 3 minute box set which scares the hell out of your cat.

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Anonymous Coward

Good luck with that

The only thing I can usually see in the sky on the 5th is smoke.

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Coat

what's new?

November the 5th and we'll see fire lighting up the sky? Unless these meteors explode into multicoloured arched trails with a loud bang and then a surprise 2nd bang around it's perimeter, I'm not interested.

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Paris Hilton

@ Pete

Am I missing something or are you really complaining that in order to see shooting stars you need clear skies and a dark night? Sure, November is not really the best time for unimpaired stargazing in northern Europe (valid for the continent too, sadly) but that is no reason not to talk about it. After all it is debris that travelled through space forever and a day just to expire in a delightful display of friction. It may not be worth a ride into the countryside for everyone, but should it not pour cats & dogs I will for sure be out and about, having a smoke while I am still allowed to do so out in the open street, and glimpse skywards every now and then should I discover a rip in the gray of clouds. In the end, I greatly prefer missing a shooter or two over things falling out of the sky that I can see *despite* clouds and light-pollution.

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Unhappy

Roll up, roll up get your blindfolds here ...

Triffids anyone?

<shiver>

Tim

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Bronze badge

@Pete

Seen plenty myself many from my back garden in Swindon (where I no longer live).

As for the masses seeing them (or the planets, or satellites, or the space shuttle approaching the ISS just after sunset or anything else noteworthy) they'd have to be awake first. Not something I'd hold out much hope for.

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Thumb Down

Would have been nice

However every nutter with a death-wish is going to be trying to blow himself up with £500 worth of shiny whizz-bangs from ASDA, so the likelihood of being able to see anything on the 5th is minimal!

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Anonymous Coward

City Centre Locations...

I happened to be out only a few nights ago testing my new camera on the stars, yes the sky was tinged orange but the stars are still there, I was out for about 30 mins and saw two meteors, both very bright and obvious... unfortunatly I missed both in my exposures... I dont think you'll have a problem spotting the orange firey types against the orange sky, you just wont appreciate the colours.

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@pete

Why........... ?

Why...........?

Is it the daily mail thats making you angry about light pollution? Did russel brand sleep with it?

Why be so negative?

I live in the middle of Southampton with a street light outside my house. Last years perseids were great, this shower has already been awesome. You can regularly see the ISS with the naked eye. Go outside on ANY clear night and youll see 10s of satellites, and more than likely the odd shoorting star.

No, theyre not going to build any telescopes here and I cant see quite as well as hubble, but its really great the night sky.

Heres an idea, go outside on the 5th (leave the daily mail inside) clear all angry thoughts, wipe the tears of persecution from your eyes and gaze at the night sky. If the streetlight makes you angry then perhaps its not for you.

But maybe leave the rest of us to enjoy it ? These articles help us to know when to look, and really arent a cause for moaning.

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Coat

It's climate change!

Astronomical events such as this always get hyped up in the media, encouraging the population to look up at the sky and absorb a higher than usual amount of visible radiation with their eyes. This reduces the amount of infra-red radiation reflected back into the atmosphere, causing localised cooling and an increase in cloud cover.

So in order to halt global warming, we all need to stare into space.

Sorted! Can I have my Nobel Prize now please?

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Bright enough to see anywhere

To those gloomy few who claim you can't see them unless you're a hundred miles away from the nearest street light, have you ever seen a "shooting star"? Remember these things are fireballs as they enter the atmosphere, they're the brightest objects in the night sky! I've even managed to photograph one from my garden and I live on the edge of a city with street lights all around.

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@it wasn't me

What's all this kneejerk crap about the Daily Mail? I don't have a clue what the DM says about light pollution, as I don't read it (although you obviously do - otherwise you couldn't possibly comment on its policy could you????!!!) but personally I'd imagine campaigns against light pollution to be more a Guardian thing anyway.

Daily Mail also gets the blame of supporting ID cards - maybe it does , I don't know , but what I do know is that the Daily Mirror supports them as nice, convenient, cheap cuddly things.

So just stop talking muppet-shit, OK?

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@Pete

What's wrong diddums did one of the big boys upset you this morning? You really are the whingingest* git I've come accross for a long, long time. Like all the best British whingers you seem to approach all of this as if somebody deliberately arranged this to happen on bonfire night in cloudy weather.

As for the light polution, you could always change your location we have a choice of modes of transportation available. You seem to be suggesting that street lights do nothing other than cause light polution and offer no safety at all. Tell you what, we don't have much by way of street lighting round here, come and try it some time. The next time I twist an ankle in the dark I'll think of you and your light polution. And on that point, like all the best English whingers you make the assumption that everybody else is in the same boat as you i.e. living where there is light polution and too lazy to change location for an evening.

*Whingingest - I like it a lot.

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Paris Hilton

Let me be...

...the first to welcome our Tauridian overlords. Provided we can see them, of course.

Paris - because I just lost my El Reg virginity.

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Happy

Hate the light pollution

But I, for one, welcome our fiery comety overlords. I don't care if it's perseids, taurids, or golden.

Triffids. MEH! Next thing you'll be telling me about pod peop.....

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J

Light pollution

Light pollution is really a problem, and not just for star gazers. Ignorant gits better read up before they spout their stupid half backed ideas from their arses.

A few points. Every time light is going UP it is being wasted, and that's an economical issue, for example. Also, it easily blinds drivers and pedestrians when badly setup, leading to LESS safety -- you can't see the "bad guy" in the shadows if you have a light bulb right in front of your eyes, but he can see you very well indeed, thanks a lot. Light has to be directed to where it's needed, *to the ground*, not to the sides or up.

If you don't care for the completely different experience of seeing a (at least relatively) dark sky compared to the washed out thing we get nowadays, that's fine. That's your opinion. But to say there is no issue is just ignorance of the many sides of it.

For more: http://www.darksky.org/

(disclaimer: I'm not in any way associated with them or their folks, don't even know any of them)

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@ Davey Bee

`Muppet shit´ funny... but rare!

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Alien

its a trap!

meteorites? fireworks? its one big smoke screen to invasion!

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