Fire in the Sky


Meteor Dazzles Viewers Across Washington Region

A bright fireball flashed across the skies of the Washington region last week, visible to people in the grandstand at a baseball game, as well as to motorists, pedestrians and people standing on suburban decks.

The American Meteor Society logged more than 30 reports of the Thursday night event, from the Washington metropolitan area to Delaware, Pennsylvania, New York and West Virginia. Almost all placed the time at about 9:55 p.m.

"It was a very bright object," said Chris Wood, who saw it from the deck of a house in Potomac. "It was so bright that the trees cast shadows" in its light, he said.

"It just kept going until it was past the horizon," he added.

"It was the brightest I've ever seen at night," he said.

Wood said the meteor appeared green, but some of the other reports on the society's Web site described it as blue or yellow. A report from Stamford, Conn., said it had a green head and a yellow trail.


Pennsylvania, US: Another Fireball Caught on York Water Company Video Camera

A fireball that crossed the sky Thursday night was caught on The York Water Company's surveillance camera.

It was the same camera at the company's pumping station in Spring Garden Township that captured a meteor in the sky last year, said Jeffrey Hines, president and CEO of the water company.

However, the latest fireball appeared to be at a slightly different angle, he said. It showed up in the footage around 9:53 p.m.

Brian Kirby, a York City Police officer, spotted the meteor while on duty Thursday evening.

"It was pretty bright. You couldn't really miss it," he said. "It had a pretty long tail. . . . Definitely not your average shooting star."


Meteor During Thursday's Orioles Game?

© Pierre Martin, Ontario
2006 Perseid fireball.
Just received this note from a member of the Howard Astronomical League:

"Not sure if you have heard yet or not, but at tonight's (June 24) Orioles game around 9:45PM there was an extremely bright meteor (bolide) in the sky that went over the city. I was sitting on the first base side and the meteor flew overtop the Hilton Hotel (left field of the stadium). It was heading roughly westward and for being over the city was very very bright! Unfortunately it was between innings and I had put my camera down.

"I would hope though that with all the photo and TV cameras that someone must have gotten a picture or video.

"Just wanted to let you know in case you were interested. - James Willinghan"
Sure, I'm interested. Did anyone at the stadium (or anywhere else in the region) spot this object? If so, leave a comment here. Better yet, if you managed to get a photo or video, let me know and we'll post it and replace the one above.

Remember, it's very important to include detailed information describing the object, where you were, which direction you were facing, which direction the object was travelling, how high above the horizon it was and how long it was visible.


Colorado Bright Fireball 23JUN2010

I recorded a very bright fireball (mag -13) over Colorado on June 23 at UT 08:49. The radiant of this event was within my measurement error of the radiant of the June Lyrid shower, which is suggested by the IMO as a "possible source", and seems to have been more active in the 1960s. I obtained an initial velocity of 47 km/s, which is high compared with the IMO estimate of 31 km/s (I don't know how that speed was obtained).

In any case, this is an interesting fireball that fragmented explosively at a height of 53 km. I have posted a report at [Link, see below]; be sure to check the nice videos from two of my allsky cameras. Tom Ashcraft also caught this on his allsky camera in New Mexico, over 400 km to the south.

Be sure to view the videos- the terminal explosion is very impressive.

Chris L Peterson
Cloudbait Observatory


US: Some here report seeing fireball in sky

A bright light in the sky over Lancaster County attracted the attention of at least a few people Thursday night.

What caused the light was uncertain as of press time.

Three people called the Intelligencer Journal/Lancaster New Era shortly after 10 p.m. to report seeing the light.

About the same time, several people from Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Jersey and Connecticut posted on Twitter that they saw an object, which they described as a "fireball" or "meteor."

"Huge, huge, huge meteor just fell over White Hall, Md.," one person wrote. "Exploded in huge flash. Green tail. Yellow fireball head."

Amanda Kimmich was folding laundry on the second floor of her house on Pitney Road in Lancaster Township when she happened to look out the window and saw a bright, white flash of light in the sky.

"It was really unique," she said. "I've seen fireworks, and this seemed bigger than that. It kind of gave me goose bumps."


Brazil Meteor Fireball Produces Meteorites

A ~600 gram meteorite fell about 15 meters from a ranch hand in Varre-Sai, Rio de Janeiro State, Brazil on June 19, 2010. The images show the meteorite and how it was found (though it was picked up first, and then replaced for the TV camera). The person talking to the reporter is Prof. Marcelo Souza, Professor of Physics and Astronomy at the Universidade Estadual do Norte Fluminense, in Campos. The interview will be aired on Brazilian TV today.

© Wellington Rangel (Clube de Astronomia Louis Cruls/ Instituto Federal Fluminense)/ Astronomers Without Borders
© Wellington Rangel (Clube de Astronomia Louis Cruls/ Instituto Federal Fluminense)/ Astronomers Without Borders


Cuba: Fireball in the Sky over Pinar del Rio?

People said that on Monday night they saw a striking luminous phenomenon in the sky in parts of the Pinar del Río municipality of Consolacion del Sur.

One of the witnesses of this peculiar event, Dr. Efren Jose Jaimez Salgado, a researcher at the Institute of Geophysics and Astronomy (IGA) of the Ministry of Science Technology and Environment, said that while visiting the home of relatives he could see a huge bright fireball, which rapidly crossed the sky north to south of Pueblo Nuevo, located on the outskirts of the town of Consolacion.

The incident occurred around 22:40 pm when a meteoric object, apparently quite large, entered the atmosphere and crossed the night sky from side to side, leaving behind a huge bright greenish white trail.


US: Meteor Caught on tape over Huntsville and Scottsboro

Scottsboro, Alabama - On May 18th, NASA cameras at the Marshall Space Flight Center and Walker County Science Center near Chickamauga, Georgia tracked the entry of a large meteor estimated to weigh some 60 pounds over northeastern Alabama.

This meteor was first picked up at an altitude of 47 miles over northwest Huntsville, moving at a speed of 8 miles per second towards the southeast. It was last visible northeast of Gurley at an altitude of 23 miles.

The meteor was quite bright, with an intensity rivaling that of the waxing crescent Moon (in astronomical terms, it was about visual magnitude -8.3). Calculations automatically performed by the tracking software indicates that this interloper was from the main asteroid belt, moving in an orbit which takes it more than three times Earth's distance from the Sun.


El Paso, Texas Meteor Event

© El Paso All Sky Camera
El Paso Meteor
May 26th, 2010 at 05:21:08 hrs MDT, our ELP Sentinel Allsky Camera recorded a meteor event in our west-southwest sky. Visual magnitude calculated to be -10.4 (very bright "shadowcaster").

Detonation (terminal explosion) was detected.

Here is a composite photo of this event from

The El Paso Allsky Camera Station. Eyewitnesses to this event are encouraged to leave comments about any visual observations in the Comments section of this site.

Thank you.


US: May 16 Colorado Fireball

© Cloudbait Observatory
May 16, Colorado Fireball
This bright fireball occurred at 09:56 PM MDT over central Colorado. This meteor was not associated with any known shower.

Data has been recovered from the following cameras: The image at left is from the DMNS camera. Note the new Moon and Venus in conjunction between 290° and 300°. The peak brightness as seen from Denver was magnitude -5.

The meteor began near Eagle, Colorado. It first appeared at a height of 72 km, descended at a zenith angle of 76° and stopped burning at a height of 51 km. The meteor had an average speed of 16 km/s (36,000 mph). This is extremely slow for a meteor, and produced a six second long event. Witnesses reported seeing sparkling debris as the meteor moved.