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Comet

'First time' meteor shower may light up skies over North America this weekend

© Unknown
Will the May Camelopardalids light up the sky or will it get pulled out of Earth's proximity by Jupiter's gravity?

North America is in for a natural light show overhead, as a meteor shower expected over the weekend could turn into a full-on sky storm, affecting countries' entire skylines. Its intensity could even outdo the Perseid meteor shower.

Stargazers are expecting the spectacle to hit late Friday and last into Sunday morning, just as Earth passes through a stream of debris consisting of up to 1,000 pieces of a comet it shed in the 1800s falling all around, every hour, at speeds of 12 miles per second (19.3kps).

The so-called May Camelopardalids will peak at about 2am to 4am on Saturday, eastern US time, according to Bill Cooke of the Meteoroid Environmental Office at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center. The name comes from the corner of the sky where we'll have to focus our gaze to see the shower's most prominent bits - the Giraffe constellation, right next to the North Star.
Telescope

A once-in-a-lifetime meteor shower may be on its way

May Camelopardalis
© Raoul Ranoa / Los Angeles Times
Skywatchers in North America may be in for a once-in-a-lifetime meteor shower this weekend if the May Camelopardalis light up the night sky early Saturday morning.

It's been 10 years since astronmer Peter Jenniskens predicted the event, which could produce as many as 200 meteors per hour. Or not.

As my colleage Deborah Netburn explained, the May Camelopardalis could happen as Earth moves into a debris field left by a small comet named 209P/LINEAR. But nothing is certain. The cloud of comet dust may turn out to be too small, or too sparse, to put on a show.
Fireball 5

1,000 years of Meteors in 30 seconds


The blue map follows their position in the sky using the Canadian Meteor Orbit Radar (CMOR). The main showers are highlighted with circles and listed by their International Astronomical Union name. A second radar map on the bottom looks at meteoroid speed.
* Maps produced using the space agency's Asgard program which tracks an estimated 4,000-5,000 meteoroids a day

* Every day, more than 40 tonnes of meteoroids hit our planet, with larger chunks of comet debris becoming fireballs

* The blue map tracks their position in the skies over our planet with the main showers highlighted in white circles

* A second radar map looks at meteoroid speed. The red regions indicate a speed of 7.5 miles/s (12km/s), the green from 26 miles/s (42km/s) and the blue from 41 miles/s (66km/s)

Every day, more than 40 tonnes of meteoroids hit our atmosphere.

Many are tiny specks of comet dust that crumble harmlessly in Earth's atmosphere, producing a slow drizzle of meteors in the night sky.

Bigger chunks of asteroid and comet debris create dozens of nightly fireballs around the planet - and now, these real-time maps mean you'll never have to miss one again.

Nasa's meteoroid visualisations are produced using the space agency's Asgard software program which tracks an estimated 4,000-5,000 meteoroids a day.

The blue map follows their position in the sky using the Canadian Meteor Orbit Radar (CMOR). The main showers are highlighted with circles and listed by their International Astronomical Union name.

Fireball

Meteor shoots across Tennessee sky

Tennesse meteor
© NASA
One of two meteors that lit up the Southern sky Thursday night burned up over Tennessee.

Bill Cooke, head of NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office, said the very bright meteor entered the atmosphere over Columbia, S.C. at 9.38 p.m. The basketball-sized meteor flew northwest at speeds reaching more than 78,000 miles-per-hour, eventually burning 52 miles above Pikeville, Tenn., just north of Chattanooga. In all, the meteor flew 290 miles, which Cooke said is quite rare.

The video below is from Cooke's blog and shows the meteor shooting across the sky.


Comment: This report of a meteor was about 45 min prior to a boom heard over West Virginia on the same night.

National Weather Service believes "boom" over West Virginia caused by meteor

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National Weather Service believes "boom" over West Virginia caused by meteor

© File photo
Charleston - We've received calls, emails, Facebook messages and tweets from many of you asking about a loud "boom" across our region. Many reports indicate that "boom" caused the land to quake.

We started getting reports of the boom around 10:30 p.m. Thursday.

We've spoken with 911 dispatchers in Lincoln, Logan and Boone Counties. Both said the National Weather Service said they believe a meteorite passed through the area, creating a sonic boom. 13 News has learned that many of you are reporting seeing a bright flash of light across the sky.

We've received calls from Logan, Boone and Raleigh counties and have even heard reports of the "boom" as far away as Kentucky. "We hear your reports," said Chief Meteorologist Spencer Adkins. Our newsroom is checking and we're also looking at things from a weather perspective."

No 911 centers we have reached out to report any emergency explosions of any kind.

New information shows people living in other states also experienced this phenomenon. For more, click here.

Comment: Worldwide fireball events going back a year.



Question

Flaming ball falls from sky in Australia and crashes 'like a bomb'

Flaming Object
© Audience submitted: Virginia Hills
Flaming object falling from the sky (bottom right of photo) seen looking east from Mount Isa about 6:30pm AEST.
Residents from across central and northern Queensland have reported seeing a huge flaming object fall from the sky.

They say what appeared to be a massive ball with a blue and orange tail hit the ground in the suburb of Kelso in Townsville around 6:30pm (AEST) last night.

Resident Kim Vega was sitting in her backyard at Kelso when she saw the moment of impact.

"It was like an explosion but without a sound," she said.

"You've just seen it was like an atomic bomb effect when it would have hit the ground and all the trees and the skies lit up."

Comment: When it comes to covering up for meteors entering the atmosphere, a falling satellite is always a good explanation. In this case, it might be, but the fact is that we live in a shooting gallery, though our scientists and governments use the media to sooth us that everything is under control, when it is not, and nobody is doing anything about it.

Question

Source of loud booms in Lakeland, Florida still a mystery

Lakeland loud boom
© Unknown
Residents from the area explain the loud noise they heard from their house this morning.
The two loud booms that shook Jessica Creel's Bartow home Wednesday morning sounded just like the sonic booms from the space shuttle.

But no one seems able to explain what caused people in three counties to hear the booms about 9:30 a.m. Wednesday.

Deputies at first thought it might have been from a farm shooting off a cannon to scare birds away. The migratory cedar waxwing birds love blueberries and some farmers resort to small cannons to shoo them. The Polk County Sheriff's Office often gets complaints of booms in South Lakeland that come from a cannon at a blueberry farm there. But that wouldn't explain why the booms were heard in Polk as well as Pasco and Hillsborough counties.

Some thought it might have been from some type of military maneuver, but MacDill Air Force Base said it wasn't them. Officials there said they had checked with NASA, too. Not them either.

"We just haven't been able to find anything yet," said Sgt. Brandon Shapiro, a public affairs officer for the 6th Air Mobility Wing stationed at MacDill.

Comment: See also a chart of reports of strange sounds and booms over the period January 2012 to 8th May 2014 below.



Fireball 3

Daytime "extremely bright" fireball over New York and Canada

fireball ny
© The Canadian Press/YouTube, Sam Singh
A purported meteor falls vertically (centre or image) in a video taken on Ingram Drive in North York, Ont and posted to YouTube on Sunday in Sunday May 4, 2014.
People across Western New York and Ontario Canada reported seeing an extremely bright daylight fireball.

Several people caught images of the bright object appearing to explode on dashboard cameras in their cars.

It happened Sunday at about 4:16 p.m. and people said the object had a brightness rivaling the sun.

The American Meteor Society is investigating the incident.

Comment: The skies are likely to get even busier in the very near future, if the chart and trend indicated below is anything to go by. It shows the increase of fireball reports over the last 2 and a half years - particularly since April of last year!



Fireball

Meteor sighting - Bright light seen streaking across sky over southern Ontario


Dozens of Ontario residents say they think they saw a meteor streak across the sky Sunday afternoon, and an expert says there is little doubt that is what they spotted.
Ontario Meteor
© Laurence/Twitter
Peter Brown, a professor at the University of Western Ontario who studies meteors and meteorites, says the widespread eyewitness reports and images are consistent with a meteor.

Many Ontarians took to social media or contacted the American Meteor Society to report either a flash of light or a loud rumble.
Airplane

Loud boom heard along hundreds of kilometers of French west coast said to be "sonic boom"


The area in South Western France over which the loud "boom" was heard by many people
An explosion heard on Sunday May 4th at around 2pm from Bordeaux to Les Sables d'Olonne in the Vendée region was the result of a fighter jet crossing the sound barrier, according to the French Air Force.

On social networks, people of the Gironde, Vendée and Poitou-Charentes regions, an area with a radius of at least 100 miles, were wondering about the source of the massive boom that shattered the tranquility of their Sunday afternoon.

Within hours, the French Air Force claimed that the boom was caused by a French fighter jet that crossed the sound barrier as it went to intercept an American Airlines flight that was having "communication problems" as it entered French airspace.

According to an Air Force spokesperson, the jet took off from Mont de Marsan, East of Bordeaux, and then proceeded up the Western coastline. Because the situation involved a possible "security threat", the pilot was given permission to go "supersonic" in order to intercept the commercial airliner in the shortest possible time.

The French Air Force claimed that 70 similar incidents had occurred in 2013, although few, if any, such booms were heard on those occasions. The question remains, therefore, why, on this occasion, a "possible emergency situation" was declared and the pilot of the jet permitted to "go supersonic", allegedly creating the loud boom.

Comment: This report is being filed under "Fire in the Sky" due to suspicions about the official story concerning the cause of the explosion.

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