Bright fireball hits the atmosphere over Portugal and Spain

Bright and slow fireball produced by a cometary fragment that hit the atmosphere at 100.000 km/h. The event overflew Portugal and Spain and penetrated the atmosphere till a final height of about 35 km, more than normal for cometary materials impacting the atmosphere. Recorded by meteor observing stations operated by the University of Huelva at La Hita (Toledo) and Sevilla


Incoming! Meteor captured over Liverpool, UK skies

This blazing image of a bright orange trail was captured in the skies above Liverpool by an ECHO reader.
© Val Lovatt
Val Lovatt took the photos of the stunning sight over Newsham Park last Friday evening at about 6.30pm. She has now sent the images to the ECHO, thinking it might be a meteor. Others also spoke on social media about seeing a "meteor" in the evening sky.

The 57-year-old betting shop worker said: "I was made up with the pictures, it was just a case of being in the right place at the right time. "I was taking pictures on my camera in the park and had just been down to the lake taking photos." The ECHO asked Ken Clark, from the Liverpool Astronomical Society, to study the photographs in a bid to identify the glowing orange streak in the sky.

Val Lovatt took the photos of the stunning sight over Newsham Park last Friday evening at about 6.30pm. He concluded the fireball-like streak was in fact a trail left by an aeroplane which appears orange because of the sunset. Mr Clark said: "I've studied the images carefully and I'm afraid it's not a meteor but something commonly mistaken for one - a jet aircraft.

"The sun has set but the plane is still catching sunlight, hence the redness of the image, at such high altitude and the 'tail' is the exhaust vapour trail of the engines which are clearly in two lanes corresponding to the engine's positions on the aircraft.

Comment: This was likely a meteor, not something caused by a jet. Just more damage control to prevent people from knowing about cyclic bombardments from space rocks.


Meteor explodes over Paraná, Brazil

A meteor exploded in the sky of Brazil on September 22, 2015.

Yes, a flash of green light came down from heaven in a cloud of fire with a fiery tail, before exploding in a big bang... Did you see it? Did you hear it?

I think the guy is the video is trying roller blades... Too bad for him, the interresting thing happened in its back. Be careful @ around 7 sec:

The fireball video was recorded at around 7:40 pm in Cascavel, Paraná, Brazil, but has also been reported in several other cities in the state.

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"Bright Green Flash" over Wyoming was an exploding meteor, says astronomy buff


The bright green flash on the right is a possible meteor headed into the atmosphere. reported last week on what the flash of light across Wyoming skies on the night of Saturday Sept. 26, might have been. Now, a longtime Cody area astronomy buff has provided further context/answers:
"The observed flash was in fact a Bolide meteor, not an Iridium flash or reentering manmade space junk. I saw it plainly from my campsite 28 miles SSE of Tensleep / ~38 miles west of Kaycee on the upper Nowood River," said Dewey Vanderhoff in comments made to Reboot.

"The meteor occurred at 8h:26m :40s PM- MDT. It appeared just above the 'handle' of the Big Dipper between the 1st and 2nd principal stars, and descended rapidly straight down and a little obliquely to the right ( north) . It first appeared 32 ° high in the WNW at an azimuth 309° ( 39° north of due west) . The meteor lasted maybe 3-4 seconds , brightening the entire way. In the last third of the trajectory the meteor became an incandescent green , and exploded just above my relative horizon. There was no sound of concussion in the following 5 minutes or so, as sometimes can be heard."


Man spots possible meteors in Southland, New Zealand

© Southland Times
2012 file photo of meteor spotted in Southland.
A Southland man has reported bright orange meteor-like activity followed by a "boom" and a bright glow coming from some distance away.

Dave Diack, from Oreti Plains, said he was outside at about 10.20pm when he spotted two objects in the sky - a short time apart.

It was a really clear night and he saw a bright orange object tracking from the south-west, he said.

"It wasn't a high one falling. It was more travelling horizontally on a slightly downward path, then it disappeared to the north."

About 10-15 seconds later he saw a second orange object in the sky, this time coming from the east. He said he thought the fact the objects came from different directions was odd. Then he said he "sort of heard a boom" in the distance and saw a bright glow emanating from the distance. The glow quickly dimmed.

Diack said it was hard to judge how far away it was, but he thought it might have come from the Dipton area.

"I've seen a few meteors over the years but I haven't seen one for quite some time. Last night's was a little bit different. We're fairly isolated and we haven't got any properties near us so when the sky's clear you can see quite a bit."

Southland Astronomical Society president Phil Burt said it was possible to sometimes see dozens of meteors in a night - and southern skies would be busy during the next two months.

The annual Orionid meteor shower will be visible from October 2 to November 7.

Comment: Celestial Intentions: Comets and the Horns of Moses


Meteor or 'space junk' spotted over York, UK

© Donna Chamberlain
Early risers in York yesterday morning could have spotted an intriguing display in the skies over the city.

Heworth woman Donna Chamberlain was up with the lark on Friday when she saw what she thought could be a meteor or "space junk" burning up as it entered the Earth's atmosphere.

The firey dot appeared at 6.45am and moved slowly through the sky before it disappeared again at 6.52am, but not before Donna had chance to capture the "magical" display on camera.

Gabrielle Potter spotted the same thing as she walked from Holgate to the station at around 7.20am. She said: "I watched it and then it just disappeared - interesting to see! I took a photo as I've never seen anything like it before."

But a space expert has been in touch to explain that rather than a meteor or falling piece of space debris, what the two woman saw was more likely a trick of the early morning light.

York man Chris Bergin who edits NASA said the pictures look just like the image created when contrails from an aircraft are caught in low angled light - like sunrise.

He said: "You can also see the trail is splitting in two, not quite parallel-wise - consistent with a two engine plane.
© Donna Chamberlain
"Meteors enter with incredible speed and such events only last a matter of seconds due to their velocity and disintegration - the latter making them visible." "Most space hardware (junk or otherwise) is tracked by Space Command, protecting other space hardware - such as the International Space Station - from conjunction events and the event in the photo matches no tracking.

Comment: Not a likely conclusion, actually: Space Junk Rising Exponentially (and No, It's Not Man-Made)

See also: The Hazard to Civilization from Fireballs and Comets


Fireball brighter than crescent moon flies over Alabama

On September 16, at 8:22:25 PM local time, NASA meteor cameras in north Georgia and western North Carolina detected a bright fireball over middle Alabama. First seen at an altitude of 45 miles above Paul M. Grist State Park, near Selma, Alabama, the 6 inch diameter chunk of asteroid moved east at a speed of 38,000 miles per hour before burning up some 28 miles above northern Elmore County. At its most intense, the meteor was even brighter than a crescent Moon.


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Meteor fireball lights up Quezon, Philippines

© YouTube Screen Capture
Joje Vitug, a resident of Barangay Pasong Tamo in Quezon City, uploaded a video of a meteor lighting up the night skies.

"I was about to reach my house last night when I saw a meteor that seemed to explode in mid air and illuminated the sky. I paused before going to my garage because I was not sure of what I saw," Vitug said.

He was lucky that his vehicle's dashboard camera was able to capture the scene, which he considers a "once-in-a-lifetime event."

Vitug sent his video to ABS-CBN News on Thu, Sep 17.

According to state weather bureau PAGASA, the appearance of the meteor is normal.


Newfound meteor showers expand astronomical calendar

© Babak Tafreshi/National Geographic Creative
A meteor (upper left) streaks through the Orion constellation during the Perseid shower.
The list of meteor showers that occur every year has just grown longer. Eighty-six previously unknown have now joined the regular spectaculars, which include the Perseids, Leonids and Geminids. Astronomers spotted the shooting-star shows using a network of video cameras designed to watch for burglars, but repurposed to spy cosmic debris burning up in Earth's atmosphere.

The newfound showers are faint but important: each is fuelled by Earth's passage through a trail of particles left behind by a comet or asteroid, so mapping them reveals previously unknown sources of dust.

"The cool thing is, we are not just doing surveillance of meteors in the night sky," says Peter Jenniskens, an astronomer at the SETI Institute in Mountain View, California. "Now we also have a three-dimensional picture of how dust is distributed in the Solar System."

Most of the particles are the size of a sand grain, but a few are large enough to survive the searing heat of their passage through the atmosphere — and possibly do damage on Earth's surface. Jenniskens and his colleagues describe the discoveries in four papers accepted for publication in Icarus.

Astronomers have been documenting meteors for centuries, first by eye and more recently with radar and video-tracking systems. Meteors sprinkle Earth steadily throughout the year, but during a shower a significant number seem to originate from the same point in the sky. Skywatchers around the world have reported more than 750 possible meteor showers to the International Astronomical Union (IAU) — but only a small fraction of those have been confirmed as bona fide events.

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Scientists use lasers to simulate shock effects of meteorite impact on silica

© National Map Seamless Server/USGS
Meteor Crater in Arizona, formed by a meteorite impact 50,000 years ago, contains bits of a hard, compressed form of silica called stishovite. Researchers precisely measured the rapid transformation of a fused silica glass into stishovite using SLAC's X-ray laser, the Linac Coherent Light Source.
Scientists used high-power laser beams at the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory to simulate the shock effects of a meteorite impact in silica, one of the most abundant materials in the Earth's crust. They observed, for the first time, its shockingly fast transformation into the mineral stishovite - a rare, extremely hard and dense form of silica.

You can scoop up bits of stishovite at the scene of meteorite impacts, such as a 50,000-year-old meteor crater in Arizona that measures about 3/4-mile across and about 570 feet deep. A similar form also exists naturally at the extreme pressures of the Earth's mantle, hundreds of miles below ground.

The Speed of Stishovite

In the experiment at SLAC, researchers used lasers to create a shock wave in samples of silica glass. The heat and compression of this shock wave caused tiny crystals, or "grains," of stishovite to grow within just a few nanoseconds, or billionths of a second. This speed defies predictions that the changes take tens or even hundreds of times longer.

"The beauty here is that the quality of the data enabled us to make a measurement that gives us entirely new insight into the mechanism for this transformation," said Arianna Gleason, who led the experiment at SLAC's Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS) X-ray laser, a DOE Office of Science User Facility. The work was published in the Sept. 4 issue of Nature Communications.

"Figuring out how atoms rearrange themselves in this material is important, and to our great surprise, what we expected to be a slower process is really rapid," said Gleason, who was a postdoctoral researcher at SLAC and Stanford University at the time of the 2012 experiment and is now a postdoctoral fellow at Los Alamos National Laboratory. "That was not known before. LCLS gave us access to this ultrashort timescale combined with the capability to generate a shockwave, which is unique."