Fire in the Sky

Fireball 2

Pelham Abuzz Over Booms in the Night

Bang! And then silence. No wreckage, no clouds, no conflagration in the neighborhood. Just a lingering mystery.

It's been the talk of the town for weeks now -- the boom.

Bill McDevitt may never find out what caused the terrific clap of noise that startled him from bed in the early morning hours about three weeks ago.

"It wasn't just a distant rumble. It sounded like lightning hit across the street. It was a sudden, loud, explosive bang," he said. "You get up and go look out the windows and you expect to see smoke or flames coming from the woods or somebody else's house, but I didn't."

McDevitt is just one of many north Pelham residents left wondering what's behind the blasts out of the blue. In the days following the first incidents, the town's online message board lit up with people swapping stories and cultivating theories.

Jill Atkinson, awoken by the same bang as McDevitt, thought her neighbor's home exploded. She expected to hear the approaching howl of sirens as she peered through her windows.

Fireball lights up sky north of Winnipeg

People looking up at the sky early this morning might have seen a strange sight - a fireball, shooting across the sky, which Manitoba Planetarium astronomer Scott Young said might have left debris behind.

"It looks like a fireworks display," said Young. "One report said it was greenish in color."

There have been numerous reports of people seeing a ball of fire streak across the sky around 6:30 am. near the Birds Hill Park area, north of Winnipeg.

The fireball is known to astronomers as a bolide, a large meteor or shooting star. Young said this happens when a grain of space debris comes in contact with the atmosphere, where the friction heats up the meteor, making it look like a ball of fire. He said based on reports, this bolide was probably the size of a baseball or cabbage. It's large size means it has more of a chance of leaving a meteorite behind.

"Smaller versions of this happen every day in the world," Young said. "But it's pretty rare for someone to see something as big as this."

Myron Witnicki witnessed the fireball when he was driving into work from Birds Hill to St. Andrews down Provincial Road 202. He said he saw something in the sky at around 6:50 a.m. At first he thought it was a plane, but then realized it might be some kind of shooting star.

Another fireball blazes across southern Finland

© Esko Lyytinen
The fireball of Kärkölä was captured by several meteorite seeking cameras.
The bright shooting star that was seen in the sky of southern Finland on Friday 19 February at 00.05 AM could have dropped a 100 gram meteorite in Kärkölä, in Southern-Häme.

The fireball that was seen shortly after midnight in the sky over southern Finland could have dropped a spacerock along the Riihimäki-Lahti train track. The fireball was observed in Kuru and was captured by six meteorite-observing cameras.

The bright part of the trail in the sky has been determined to be around 100 meters in length based on the video footage of the fireball.

The mathematician and meteor researcher Esko Lyytinen estimates that the fireball dropped a rather small meteorite, weighing maybe ca 100 grams.

Fireball flying over Finland

My meteorcamera captured this awesome fireball in Finland Rajamäki. Camera is pointed to at NW and has approx 85 degrees wide field of wiew.


Blazing fireball turns London sky from night to day

For a few seconds tonight, the sky in south London lit up - all from a peanut-sized object hitting the atmosphere.

It was a meteor.

Members of the London chapter of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada confirmed what many others saw just after the supper hour.

A bright light that began as orange, then turning white sailed from the northwest towards the southeast.

One observer believed the light trailed over the sky for as long as five seconds.

Dave McCarter, the chapter president simply wished he had seen it.

"They're fairly frequent," he said. "If you're out looking up the likelihood, you're going to see some of these nice meteors.

Comment: Interesting that at other times in other countries the national press trivialises sightings of fireballs in the sky by reassuring readers just how rare they are, but here the emphasis has flipped to place the sighting within the context of them happening "all the time!"

Nothing to see here folks, it's just another space rock (which we'll guesstimate was the size of a peanut to reinforce the notion that it was utterly insignificant) that turned night into day over yet another major population center!


Fireball over Germany 04 Feb 2010

Bavaria, Southern Germany - A night shift worker in west Augsburg, observed an object which might have been a meteorite fall from the sky at 3:04 A.M. local time (CET) and burn itself out before it hit the ground. The appearance, angle and velocity of the phenomenon rule out the possibility that the flaming object could have been man-made leaving out fireworks as an explanation.

The actual size of the object and its distance was not determinable from the observation point of Katzenstadel. Nor was any sound audible from that distance.

© Meteomedia / Mark Vornhusen

Shetland Islands: Auroras and a fireball

This week, the brightest auroras of the year have been surging around the Arctic Circle. Never one to waste a photo-op, English astrophotographer Pete Lawrence boarded a "Northern Lights flight" on Feb. 15th, and this is what he saw 37,000 ft over the Shetland Islands:

© Pete Lawrence
English astrophotographer Pete Lawrence boarded a "Northern Lights flight" on Feb. 15th, and this is what he saw 37,000 ft over the Shetland Islands

New Chemical Diversity Discovered in Old Meteorite

© Meteorites Australia
A piece of the Murchison meteorite.
A new analysis of an ancient meteorite that fell to Earth in 1969 reveals millions of complex compounds, underscoring the richness of our galaxy's primordial soup.

More than 200 pounds of the meteorite were recovered from its crash site in Murchison, Australia in 1969. Subsequent analysis classified it as a carbonaceous chondrite: a rock that formed in the early solar system's mix of gas and dust, floating for billions of years until finding our planet.

Cover-up underway following meteor strike in Hidalgo, Mexico

© Inexplicata
Inexplicata recieved a message yesterday morning from Contributing Editor Ana Luisa Cid regading the collision of an unexplained object in the state of Hidalgo (central Mexico) -- initial excitement over an "extraterrestrial" event was replaced with more conservative comments about "Soviet-era space junk", "meteorites" and even "an explosion in a local mine".

News items received today read thus:
Meteorite allegedly left a hole 30 meters in diameter and caused houses and buildings to shake in five municipalities of Hidalgo and Puebla.

At 18:30 hours on Wednesday, [February 10, 2010] a light accompanied by a powerful rport caused homes and buildings to shake throughout five municipalities in [the states of] Puebla and Hidalgo. The event was attributed to a meteorite impact.

Ibaraki, Japan: Meteor Lights Sky

Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan Meteor Lights Sky!

I just received a report of a fireball sighting over Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan seen at approximately 8:28pm;
"... (we) were driving near our apartment, and we saw a bright flash of light in the sky ahead of us. We are not sure what was it, but it is possible that it was a bolide. It looked like a very bright falling star.

Time: around 20:28 Japan local time
Place of observation: on Route 296, Shimotsuma City, Ibaraki Pref.
Latitude: ca. 36°10'30"N
Longitude: ca. 139°59'30"E

We were heading south-southeast on Route 296, and the light fell sightly eastwards,
low in the sky."