Sunday, November 12, 2017

A Bright Blue-Green Taurid Bolide Was Seen At Our November 10th Star Party


On Friday night November 10, 2017, I was helping out at Wayne Petko's "Canal Walk" Star Party at the Griggstown State Park.
There were four members with scopes and it seemed like more than 50 people came out to the "boonies"(if there is such a thing in the suburbia of metropolitan New York and Philadelphia) to brave the c-c-c-cold and slight breeze. We were at a fairly large, wide-open space near the old D&R Canal and although the night sky seemed a little bright from the ambient light pollution, there were more than enough cosmic objects to view. We were able to keep the public's interest ~ even in the sub-freezing temperature! My car reported that it was 22°F (-5.5°C).

People seemed to enjoy themselves and most stayed long enough to look through each scope and study what they were seeing. During one of my chats with about 6 or 7 people I mentioned that the Taurid Meteor Shower was peaking in a couple days, during the early morning of 13 November, and that we may be able to  see some even while we stood looking up at the sky.
As I was pointing out Taurus I mentioned the relationship with comet Encke and as we faced west, I motioned with my arm the directions a meteor may take from that constellation. Shortly, a huge bright blue-green bolide fell in the west, the same direction that we were looking. WOW!!
It was beautiful.... beside the awesome color of the meteor, it's reddish-orange trail and debis arced about 20° in the sky.

That was probably only the fourth or fifth huge bolide that I've ever seen since I started looking up when I was a young kid. Now that I'm retired, I guess my free time has it's benefits.
It was an awesome night even if I couldn't feel my toes and my face wanted to leave me there and go home!
Keith