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Fire in the Sky

Fireball 3

Exploding meteor: Bright bolide lights up night sky over Pacific Northwest

© NASA , The Province
A bolide, or exploding meteor, similar to this one was spotted in the night sky over the Lower Mainland and Western Washington on Friday night.
Tina Robertson was just trying to catch a stray cat out in front of her property when she heard it.

"It freaked me right out," she said.

Then she looked up to see a "big ball of fire."

"It was moving like hell," she said. "It was big, but not as big as that one in Russia."

What she and other witnesses as far afield as Seattle and Nanaimo seem to have seen around 6:50 p.m. Friday night was a type of meteor known as a bolide. Bolides are as bright as a full moon; they're a meteor that doesn't just burn up as it travels through the atmosphere, it explodes.

(Hat tip to Seattle Twitter user Reb Roush for pointing us all to the term.)

Robertson's partner Wilf Krickhan was loading up fire wood in a bobcat behind the house when he saw the blue-green bolide flash across the sky.

"It had an orange streak behind it," he said.

The couple live on a farm about 25 kilometres up Chilliwack Lake Road. From their vantage point, it looked like the meteor flashed out up the slopes of Mount McGuire, in direction of Vedder Road and the site of the former CFB Chilliwack.

Friday was the start of the Geminid meteor shower, so keep your eyes peeled at the sky for the next two weeks. The peak period will be on Dec. 13 and 14.

Comment: The American Meteor Society (AMS) have received 33 reports relating to this event. There has been an upsurge in fireball activity recently. See the SOTT Worldview graph for fireball sightings this year:

Fireball 2

Early Geminid fireball photographed over Tucson

© Eliot Herman
Early Geminid fireball – caught December 2, 2015 at 10:34 p.m. from the Tucson, Arizona foothills.
Geminids meteors are beginning to fly. The shower peaks on the night of December 13.

Our friend Eliot Herman - who has a very cool set-up for capturing meteors - sent us this photo. It appears to be an early Geminid meteor, and not just any meteor but a fireball, or exceptionally bright meteor. We're still many days away from the peak of this shower on the night of December 13 (morning of December 14), 2015. But the shower should be gearing up around now. Eliot wrote:
Fisheyes curve, or distort, so one needs to be a bit careful about projecting back [to the radiant point], but it looks like the right place.
He's talking about the fact that meteors in annual showers, like the Geminids, all appear to stream in our sky from a single point, called the radiant point. You don't have to be looking at the radiant point to see the meteor shower, but - to see the greatest number of meteors - it's better if the radiant point is above the horizon, and best if it's high in the sky. For the Geminids, the highest point in the sky is around 2 a.m. local time. That's the time on your clock no matter where you are on Earth.

Thanks, Eliot!

Fireball 4

Bright green fireball seen over Northern Ireland, Scotland

© Screenshot via Belfash Telegraph
A mysterious fireball set social media ablaze as hundreds took to Twitter to report a bright object falling from the sky.
Shortly after 10pm on Sunday night the first queries started popping up on the internet with some speculation about what the fiery sphere was.

@xBobbyJean was one of the first to Tweet, saying: "Just saw what seemed to be a fireball travelling southwards across the sky - odd! Did anyone else see it? #Belfast.

Many were quick to joke of an alien invasion of a foreign military attack but others realised they had witnessed a spectacular meteor, according to Tolis Christou from the Armagh Observatory. "Judging from its brightness, I would say it was a chunk of rock, about the size of a grapefruit, independently orbiting the Sun until it had a misfortune of coming across our planet", he said.

"Upon entering the atmosphere, friction - air molecules bouncing off it - caused it to heat up and glow. This light that we see from the ground is what we call a meteor. Eventually, the intense heat caused it to vaporise completely before reaching the ground. "It appeared to emanate from the vicinity of the constellations Draco the Dragon and Ursa Major (Big Dipper). If we were to stay up all night every night, we would expect to see one as bright as that every month approximately. The casual observer would probably see one every year."

Mr Christou said that by judging from its apparent path across the sky, this event was not related to the Lyrid meteor shower which peaked on April 22/23. At peak activity this shower produces 15 or 20 meteors per hour. Reports of the fireball weren't limited to Northern Ireland, as residents of Dublin, Galway and others in Scotland shared their visual experiences.

Comment: Ireland has seen its share of fireballs this November: This meteor was also seen in Scotland:

Fireball 2

Green meteor fireball filmed over Cape Town, South Africa

What was this mysterious green light striking the sky of South Africa on November 28, 2015?

The strange green light was spotted by hundreds of baffled residents from Durban, Cape Town and Johannesburg...
seems legit or its vfx 50/50 "@LiveMagSA WHAT WAS THAT? Anyone else see that green light flying over Soweto? #UFOSA pic.twitter.com/pZyl60dj7L"

— PhetogoTshepoMahasha (@PTMahasha) November 30, 2015
Hundreds of people reported through social networks a strange green light in the sky over Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg at around 11pm on November 28, 2015.

Fireball 2

Bright meteor shoots through Northern Lights over Iceland


The Leonid meteor shower happens every year at this time, as our world crosses the orbital path of Comet Tempel-Tuttle
There were excellent viewing conditions for the Northern Lights last night at the same time as the peak of the Leonid meteor shower. Icelandic astronomy website Stjörnufræðivefurinn has published stunning footage of a meteor shooting seemingly through the Northern Lights.

The video, published first on the Facebook page of Stjörnufræðivefurinn was shot over Reykjavik last night and shows the Northern Lights cascading in the sky in real time. One minute into the video a meteor can be spotted and then it burns up in the middle of the Northern Lights display. Watching the video in HD is reccomended.

The Leonid meteor shower happens every year at this time, as our world crosses the orbital path of Comet Tempel-Tuttle. Like many comets, Tempel-Tuttle litters its orbit with bits of debris. It's when this cometary debris enters Earth's atmosphere, and vaporizes, that we see the Leonid meteor shower. In 2015, the peak night of the shower was from midnight to dawn on Wednesday.

See the video here below.

Fireball 2

Loud boom heard over Central Kentucky

© Lex18.com
Many across central Kentucky heard or felt what was similar to an explosion on Thanksgiving evening around 9pm.

After investigating and gathering information, I believe there is a high probability that this was a meteor or meteors that broke the speed of sound, creating a "sonic boom". A sonic boom is the sound associated with the shock waves created by an object traveling through the air faster than the speed of sound.

Sonic booms generate enormous amounts of sound energy. They sound just like an explosion.

Many saw what looked like a shooting star or a streak of light in the sky, which backs up this theory.

If you have photos or video of the possible meteor, we invite you to share them with us on our LEX 18 News Facebook Page.


Meteor fireball over West Michigan caught on video

A Wood TV8 employee captured video of what appears to be a meteor over West Michigan.

The video was recorded by a dash cam on Tuesday night over I-196 near Zeeland.

Meteors light up as they cross the sky because they are burning up as they enter Earth's atmosphere.

It's possible the meteor was part of the Leonid meteor shower. That shower peaked on Nov. 17 and 18, according to NASA, but lasts through the end of November.


Mysterious cloud appears over 6 States baffling stargazers

© Glen Wurden
This mysterious cloud in the sky of New Mexico was shot by Glen Wurden on November 24, 2015
A mysterious cloud suddenly appeared in the sky on November 24, 2015.

And it baffled a whole lot of stargazers over at least 6 US states.

Do you know what it was?
© Glen Wurden
Can you imagine spotting that at 5:40am and during half an hour without knowing what is going on there?


Bright meteor fireball seen and heard over Petersburg, Alaska

© amsmeteors.org
This map shows the five reports of people seeing a meteor early Saturday morning.
Petersburg was abuzz with talk of a big bang early Saturday morning. Some people believe it was lightning and thunder while others think it might have been a meteor.

On the sidewalks, at the stores, at the bars, people have been talking about a loud sound they heard around 2:30 a.m. Saturday. Most have never heard anything like it before.

Life-long Petersburg resident Devren Bennett was asleep at home in Tlingit and Haida Housing Subdivision. Like many others, he was jolted awake.

"I woke up from dead sleep to what sounded like a jet sitting on top of our house with the engine wound up all the way," Bennett said. " First thought was a landslide of some sort but there's no mountains around my house that would cause anything like that, otherwise I had no idea."

"So did you actually feel something?" I asked him.

"Absolutely, you could definitely feel the vibrations," said Bennett.

Fireball 5

Meteorite falls near border between Costa Rica and Panama

© La Prensa
The fishing boat La Garza 1 reported the fall of the meteorite to authorities.
A meteorite of unknown size fell early Tuesday morning in Panama's Pacific coast, near the Costa Rica border, without causing any significant damage, officials said.

"The rock fell into the Pacific Ocean, on the border between Panama and Costa Rica, near the Isla Baldones and the town of Puerto Armuelles (Chiriquí)," explained the director of Panama's Sistema Nacional de Protección Civil (Sinaproc), Jose Donderis.

The falling meteorite was spotted by fishing vessel, reporting it to the Sinaproc.

This is the first meteorite to fall in Panama since 2007, when another fell on the town of Farallón, 120 kilometres west of the Panama City, destroying a ranch.

© Google Map
Sources: La Nacion; La Prensa