Fire in the Sky


Two asteroids making a close approach

Within the space of less than an hour on September 5, the Mount Lemmon Survey discovered two objects which will both pass by the Earth on September 8 at a distance closer than the Moon! This unprecedented coincidence provides an exciting observing challenge for amateurs although those observing from the UK will not have the best views.

The intrinsically smaller object, 2010 RF12, will be the more favourable observing target in that it passes closest at about 0.21 lunar-distance, i.e. about 80,000 km. Tonight from the UK (Sep 6/7) this object will be 17th magnitude but by tomorrow (Sep 7/8) it will be brightening rapidly from 16th to 15th magnitude and be accelerating from an apparent speed of about 30 "/min to 50 "/min. It passes closest around 2100 UT on the 8th but by then it will be difficult from any location on the Earth.

US: New Deal Man Finds Meteorite in Yard

New Deal Meteorite
New Deal - Discovering something out of this world was something the Smith family thought was only possible in movies and TV shows.

No burning rocks came crashing from the sky in this case - instead, Todd Smith happened to spot an odd-looking rock while he was mowing his front yard in June. The rock was partially buried in the ground near the gas meter, located a few feet from the roadway.

At first, he kept mowing, but since Todd and his family had seen the "Meteorite Men" TV show on the Science Channel, he said, he decided to go back and pick up the rock. As soon as he held it in his hand, he noticed it was not a typical rock.

"The weight of it was just wrong. That was the first thing that stood out to me," Todd said. "It crossed my mind that it could be (a meteorite) based on how it looked and all and how heavy it was. I thought it was probably a piece of iron."

Colombia: 'Giant Fireball' Was a Meteorite

Colombian Fireball
© Vanguardia Liberal
Colombian authorities confirmed that a "giant fireball" that fell from the sky in the Santander department, central Colombia, was a meteorite.

The Colombian media has been buzzing with eye witness accounts of the fireball, which caused a massive explosion at 3:15PM local time Sunday. reported that Bucaramanga Mayor Fernando Vargas confirmed that the phenomenon was a meteorite that left a crater 100 meters in diameter when it crashed into the earth in the San Joaquin municipality in Santander.

Colombian air force helicopters were commissioned to fly over the area to try to locate the source of the explosion.

The director of the University of Nariño's Astronomic Observatory, Alberto Quijano, told RCN Radio Sunday that he believed the object was a meteorite.

In rural areas of Santander, police received reports that the explosion had shattered windows in the area.

US: Did a Meteorite Smash Into a Monroe Home?

Monroe Meteorite

A Monroe man thought his house came "under fire" but instead found what he believed to be a small meteorite stuck to the side of his house.

We checked with the experts to find out what the likelihood is of a meteorite falling to earth and wedging itself into Greg Weller's home.

Weller said he noticed the dark charcoal substance for the first time on Saturday while he was gardening. "It looked like the brick just broke off, and there was something dark underneath it."

The night before, Weller says he'd heard what he thought were gunshots outside. Once he noticed the substance he started digging around, and began to suspect something a little more "out of this world."

"I looked up some stuff about meteorites and found a magnet and stuck it to it... And they said that's a test right there. And the more I read, the more I was sure it was a meteorite."

Hunt for Meteorite that Could be Worth €100k

© Reuters
Valuable: The meteorite, which astronomers believe fell here, would look smooth and black.
The hunt is on for a meteorite that could be worth more than its weight in gold.

A fireball blazed across the night sky on Wednesday, leading astronomy experts to believe it came down somewhere here.

Astronomy Ireland chairman David Moore said the discovery of a meteorite would be very rare -- only three meteorites have been found in Ireland in the past 200 years.

A meteorite was last found in Ireland in 1999 when a Carlow woman found a handful of shattered meteorite pieces on a country lane near Leighlin Bridge.

The collector who bought the fragments valued them at €100,000.

Meteorite takes name of Wisconsin township where it landed

A meteorite that lit up the night sky over the upper Midwest as it plummeted into southeastern Wisconsin on April 14 now has a name: Mifflin, for rural Mifflin Township where it fell.

Tens of thousands of eyewitnesses in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois saw the meteor as it streaked down to Earth shortly after 10 p.m., setting hundreds of professional and amateur meteorite hunters scrambling over farm fields for several weeks afterward in search of pieces of the alien rock.

UK: Peter Rowell Listener Spots 'Meteor' Over Bristol

Bristol Meteor
© Gordon Busche
Look at the top middle of this picture: Gordon Busche thinks it's a meteor

A Bristol man has the local weather-world talking after spotting what looks like a meteor in broad daylight.

Gordon Busche got in touch with BBC Radio Bristol's The Afternoon Show presenter, Peter Rowell, and sent in the image from his mobile phone.

Gordon said he was at Cabot Circus in Bristol at about 2.30pm on Tuesday when he spotted the shape in the sky.

He said: "We've just seen what looks like a meteor going across the sky from east to west.

"Very bright and fast, not sure if anyone else saw it."

BBC Bristol weatherman Richard Angwin said the image looks surprisingly good.

"There seems to be a really bright blob in the center of the image and a really long trail to the right of the image," said Richard.

"This meteor cannot be tied directly to the recent Perseid Meteor Shower, which peaks around the 12th night of the month.

Fireball object flew along the coast at Grand Bend, Ontario, Canada

Posted: August 30, 2010

Date: August 29, 2010
Time: Approx: 8:40 p.m.

Hi, this is my first time reporting, but I seen a fireball object, fly along the coast of the beach in Grand Bend. This was seen by me and a few friends on August 29th 2010 at around 8:40 at night. The object seemed to change direction after coming straight on to the beach, and then turned and went parallel with the beach front. Hope this helps, P.S. Let me know if anyone else seen that.

Australia: Meteor Explosion Wows Community

Many of us heard the loud rumble, and some were even lucky enough to see something in the sky, but simply everyone is talking about the supposed meteor that exploded over the Tombong area last Tuesday afternoon.

A huge number of locals report having heard a loud unexplained "thundering" noise on Tuesday at around 2pm, while others tell of seeing a light falling through the sky at around the same time.

No one got quite as close as local Country Energy worker, David Turnbull, however, who was at Craigie Range, preparing to climb a power pole to make repairs.

David says it was a calm quiet day, when he suddenly noticed a light in the sky, which started travelling straight towards him in an east to west direction from Mount Wog.

He knew the bright object was travelling far too quickly to be an aircraft, and he watched in astonishment for over 20 seconds as it flew over the top of him, making a loud hissing or "swooshing" sound.

He said the initially bright object dulled and broke up into four or five pieces over Delegate, with a huge roar to be heard.

"Everything shook," he said. "I've never been in an earthquake, but it was that kind of a thing."

David laments the fact that he had no phone or camera to record the event, and can't believe that no one else has reported seeing the object so clearly.

Of course word spread quickly that a meteor had exploded within the local area, and the Bombala Times contacted the Sydney Observatory to try and confirm that this was indeed the case.

Iran meteor shower heralded by fireball

The fireball falling on Iranian ground
Iranian meteor shower enthusiasts have particularly enjoyed the August show put on by the Perseids, which was heralded by a brilliant fireball, streaking across the eastern sky.

The Perseid meteor shower reached its peak last week and announced its annual August arrival with a bright fireball over Iran's eastern cities.

Iranian astronomists say the fireball was caused by a meteor, as it struck Earth's atmosphere.

The fireball was observed by skywatching cameras operated by an Iranian space center, the Mehr News Agency reported.

This year's Perseid meteor shower peaked on the night of August 12-13 between midnight and dawn.

The fireball occurred low in the sky when it entered Earth's atmosphere above the eastern cities of Zahedan and Taftan.