Encke and the Taurids are believed to be remnants of a much larger comet, which has disintegrated over the past 20,000 to 30,000 years, breaking into several pieces and releasing material by normal cometary activity or perhaps occasionally by close encounters with the tidal force of Earth or other planets. In total, this stream of matter is the largest in the inner solar system. Since the meteor stream is rather spread out in space, Earth takes several weeks to pass through it, causing an extended period of meteor activity, compared with the much smaller periods of activity in other showers. The Taurids are also made up of weightier material, pebbles instead of dust grains.
Typically, Taurids appear at a rate of about 5 per hour, moving slowly across the sky at about 17 miles per second (27 kilometers per second), or 65,000 miles per hour. If larger than a pebble, these meteors may become "bolides" as bright as the moon and leave behind smoke trails.
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