8/28 Fireball Southeast USA

MAJOR FIREBALL EVENT: Bill Cooke of NASA Meteoroid Environment Office reports that a major fireball event occurred over the southeastern USA on August 28th. The explosion was brighter than the Moon and it might have scattered meteorites on the ground. Watch the movie, then read Cooke’s full report below:

“On August 28 at 07:27 UTC (2:27 AM local time in Alabama), all six NASA all-sky cameras in the southeast picked up a very bright fireball,” he says. “Its peak magnitude was approximately -11, or six times brighter than the Last Quarter Moon. This may very well be the brightest event our network has observed in 5 years of operation.”

“The cameras were completely saturated, necessitating a manual solution of the fireball’s trajectory and orbit,” he adds. Initial results indicate that the meteoroid massed 45 kg (roughly 0.3 to 0.4 meters in diameter) and hit the top of Earth’s atmosphere traveling 23.7 km/s (53,000 mph).

Cooke is currently examining doppler radar records and other data to determine where the fall zone is located.

from: spaceweather.com

Fireball Graces Bay Area

BAY AREA FIREBALL: Last night, Oct. 17th, many people near San Francisco saw a slow-moving fireball exploding in the sky around 07:45 pm PDT. Witnesses report bright flashes of light and sonic booms that shook houses. Using a wide-field camera, Wes Jones caught the meteor disappearing behind the trees in the city of Belmont:

“We don’t know yet if the end point [of the meteor’s flight] was over land or water,” says meteor expert Peter Jenniskens of the NASA Ames Research Center. Jenniskens operates a network of Cameras for All-sky Meteor Surveillance (CAMS) near the Bay Area. “Data from the CAMS system should give us an answer [about landfall]. We’re analyzing the data now.” Stay tuned.

Note: Although Earth is nearing a stream of debris from Halley’s Comet, source of the Orionid meteor shower, this fireball was probably not an Orionid. The timing and direction of the meteor do not seem to match the Orionids.


Fireball in the Sierra Nevadas

SIERRA FIREBALL DECODED: On Sunday morning, April 22nd, just as the Lyrid meteor shower was dying down, a spectacular fireball exploded over California’s Sierra Nevada mountain range. The loud explosion rattled homes from central California to Reno, Nevada, and beyond. According to Bill Cooke, head of NASA’s Meteoroid Envronment Office, the source of the blast was a meteoroid about the size of a minivan.

“Elizabeth Silber at Western University has searched for infrasound signals from the explosion,” says Cooke. “Infrasound is very low frequency sound which can travel great distances. There were strong signals at 2 stations, enabling a triangulation of the energy source at 37.6N, 120.5W. This is marked by a yellow flag in the map below.”

“The energy is estimated at a whopping 3.8 kilotons of TNT, so this was a big event,” he continues. “I am not saying there was a 3.8 kiloton explosion on the ground in California. I am saying that the meteor possessed this amount of energy before it broke apart in the atmosphere. [The map] shows the location of the atmospheric breakup, not impact with the ground.”

“The fact that sonic booms were heard indicates that this meteor penetrated very low in atmosphere, which implies a speed less than 15 km/s (33,500 mph). Assuming this value for the speed, I get a mass for the meteor of around 70 metric tons. Hazarding a further guess at the density of 3 grams per cubic centimeter (solid rock), I calculate a size of about 3-4 meters, or about the size of a minivan.”

“This meteor was probably not a Lyrid; without a trajectory, I cannot rule out a Lyrid origin, but I think it likely that it was a background or sporadic meteor.”


Huge UK Fireball 3/03

Massive Fireball Witnessed Over The UK By Countless Observers

by ADRIAN WEST on MARCH 4, 2012

A large meteor seen in the sky over the UK, near a rainbow light display. Credit: Mike Ridley. mikeridleyphotography.com

On the evening of March 3rd 2012 at approximately 21:40 GMT, an incredibly bright fireball/bollide was seen over the United kingdom.

Many people were outside enjoying a clear evening under the stars, or going about their ordinary business when they spotted the amazingly bright object shooting across the sky. Nearly all of the observations from the public from across much of the country described the object as a very bright fireball traveling from north to south and disappearing low in the sky.

The image above is from Mike Ridley, who said, “I was out tonight photographing the global rainbow display at Whitly Bay and saw this bright light hurtling across the sky. I quickly turned the camera to capture it as it flew overhead. With the naked eye I could see it white hot with an orange tail & really low in the sky. I thought it was a massive firework rocket.”

See two videos of the fireball, below.

Most accounts give a duration of around 10 to 15 seconds and the fireball showed a bright orange nucleus with a bright green tail. There was some fragmentation as the fireball ploughed through the atmosphere.

At present, it is unknown whether any pieces of the object survived and hit Earth’s surface, but there is a high possibility that if it did, it landed in the ocean.

from:    http://www.universetoday.com/93964/massive-fireball-witnessed-over-the-uk-by-countless-observers/

Blazing Texas Fireball

TEXAS FIREBALLAfter nightfall on Feb. 1st, a spectacular fireball appeared in the skies of eastern Texas and Oklahoma. As is often the case for unexpected night-sky phenomena, few pictures are available. The best so far comes from a police dash-board camera in the small town of Little River-Academy, TX:

Eye-witness Daryn Morran reports: “At approximately 756pm CST, over Abilene, Texas, I saw an object falling from the sky much brighter and long-lasting than anything I’ve seen. [The fireball] lasted close to 8 secs before completely burning out. At first, it was bright white, and then started slowing down and getting brighter. Then it exploded like a firecracker artillery shell into several pieces, flickered a few more times and then slowly burned out… awesome!!!”

Another observer in Coppell, Texas, reported a “double boom heard at 8:00:30 CST. [The object appeared to be] 1/2 the size of the waxing moon, and broke into two major chucks with many smaller pieces. It had a ‘white plasma’ (sun-colored) look with a long golden tail.” (This report was relayed by NWS meteorologist Joe Harrris in Frt Worth.)

According to Bill Cooke of NASA’s Meteoroid Environment Office, this was probably a natural object–a small asteroid about the size of a car or bus–not a decaying satellite or other manmade space debris. The fireball, which disintegrated in the general vicinity of Dallas-Fort Worth, was bright enough to be seen on NASA cameras located in New Mexico more than 500 miles away. “It was about as bright as the full Moon (astronomical magnitude -13),” estimates Cooke, who is still analyzing data and sighting reports in hopes of calculating the object’s orbit. He might yet figure out where the Texas fireball came from


New Year’s Eve Fireball

NEW YEAR’S FIREBALL: The first bright fireball of the New Year streaked over the southwestern USA on Jan. 1st at 03:15 UT. It was visible from Arizona, Colorado and New Mexico. “I was able to see it out my window,” reports amateur astronomer Thomas Ashcraft from his rural observatory outside of Santa Fe. “It was brilliant turquoise blue.” Ashcraft operates a combination all-sky camera/forward-scatter meteor radar system, which captured the fireball’s flight. Click on the image to play the movie–and don’t forget to turn up the volume to hear the ghostly radar echo:

Cameras belonging to NASA’s All-Sky Fireball Network also recorded the fireball from multiple locations. An orbit calculated from those data show that the fireball was a random meteoriod hailing from the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. It hit Earth’s atmosphere at 26 km/s (58,000 mph), which is relatively slow compared to other meteoroids, and disintegrated 82 km above Earth’s surface.


Fireball Over Toronto

Blazing meteor falls east of Toronto

CBC News

Posted: Dec 14, 2011 10:11 AM ET

Last Updated: Dec 14, 2011 11:01 AM ET

Ontario researchers want to hear from anyone who saw a basketball-sized fireball in the sky east of Toronto Monday night or has found fragments of the fallen meteorites.

Meteorites, meteors and asteroids

  • Meteorites are fragments of rock or metal that have landed on Earth after falling from space. They are usually pieces from a comet or asteroid orbiting the Sun.
  • Meteors are fireballs or “shooting stars” visible in the sky when a piece of space rock enters the Earth’s atmosphere. The friction heats the rock until it glows brightly.
  • Asteroids are bodies made of rock or metal that range in size from boulder-sized to nearly the size of a small moon or planet. Most of the asteroids in our solar system form part of the Asteroid Belt orbiting the sun between Mars and Jupiter.


The meteor, described as a “slow-moving fireball, estimated to be no bigger than a basketball,” was recorded at 6:04 p.m. ET Monday by six cameras that are part of the University of Western Ontario’s Southern Ontario Meteor Network, the university said in a news release. 

Researchers think it likely dropped meteorites ranging in size from one gram to hundreds of grams east of Selwyn, Ont., north of Peterborough, near the end of Upper Stony Lake, about 115 kilometres northeast of Toronto. They may have a total mass of up to a few kilograms.

While the meteor fell during the Geminid meteor shower, researchers said it wasn’t related to that event.

Because researchers tracked the meteor’s trajectory with their cameras, they can figure out where in our solar system it comes from. They say it is rare and valuable to be able to combine that information with an actual meteorite sample.

“Finding a meteorite from a fireball captured by video is equivalent to a planetary sample return mission,” said Peter Brown, director of the University of Western Ontario’s Centre for Planetary and Space Exploration, in a statement Wednesday.


What would you do if you found a meteorite? Take our survey.

“Only about a dozen previous meteorite falls have had their orbits measured by cameras … so each new recovered meteorite is adding to our understanding of the formation and evolution of our own solar system.”

The video footage showed that the meteor first entered the atmosphere at an angle of 25 degrees from the horizontal, moving at 14 kilometres per second. It first became visible over Lake Erie, then moved toward the north-northeast and was visible until it reached an altitude of 31 kilometres, when it was just south of Selwyn.

Based on the path of the meteor, as tracked by a series of six cameras, meteorite fragments probably landed near Upper Stony Lake, a northeast of Peterborough, Ont. Click for a larger image. (Courtesy University of Western Ontario)