Great Fireballs from Taurus


Inspired by BBC’s Autumnwatch I headed into the garden to listen for the sound of migrating redwings passing over head on their way from Scandinavia and stumbled into a meteorite shower, if such a thing is possible.

A shooting star flew overhead and I wished on it, automatically, a human thing to do but then, overhead I could see lots of tiny meteors whizzing around and ran out of wishes.

My neighbour Bill came into the garden for a smoke followed by his loyal sidekick, his chihauhau, Blue. I lay still on the bench in the garden trying not to alert Blue’s ferocious guard dog instincts. The neighbours think I’m weird enough and I didn’t want to add to the list of tales they could tell their friends.

“We found her laying in the dark, in the garden, staring at the sky!”

I lay there, waiting for the security lights to dim, wrapped in winter layers and Russian hat and watched the sky fall apart overhead. Laced with twenty first century debris of satellites and airplanes, stars fell, flashing green and streaking white tails across the sky.

One hour later, shivering with cold I’ve ventured inside to find that what I’ve been watching are Taurid fireballs, trails of ice and dust from the comet Encke as it orbits the sun.

The shooting stars are set to peak over the next few nights so turn off the tele, forget the whispers of your neighbours and head out there now.


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