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Sat, 25 Feb 2017
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Fireball 4

Meteor fireball sighted over South Island, New Zealand

© Photo Twitter (@iangriffin)
Clear skies around the country allowed for sightings of what may have been a meteor (not pictured) last night.
Reports of a bright light shooting across the skies last night have come in from around the country, including Dunedin.

ODT Online submitter Peter Simkins relates looking out of his window in Broad Bay towards Port Chalmers and seeing a ''yellow streak of light plummeting to earth''.

Other sightings have come in from in Blenheim, Porirua, Lake Ferry, Martinborough and New Plymouth.

Some people posted on social media about seeing the sky light up, while others described the light as being green in colour. Fairfax is this morning reporting that it may have been may be a Russian cargo rocket re-entering the earth's atmosphere.

One woman posted on Facebook that she saw the light in Lower Hutt.

"Yup saw it clearly in Lower Hutt. It was huge and the tail colorful."

The Herald was unable to contact an expert to comment on the sighting tonight, but a person at the University of Canterbury's Mt John Observatory said descriptions provided indicated people had seen a meteor.

According to Nasa, small chunks of rock and debris in space are called meteoroids.

They become meteors, or shooting stars, when they fall through a planet's atmosphere; leaving a bright trail as they are heated to incandescence by the friction of the atmosphere. Pieces that survive the journey and hit the ground are called meteorites.

Fireball

Three meteor fireballs reported over Cheltenham, UK in two days

© Via Facebook/Stef Kotwica
Did you see two fireballs in the sky above Cheltenham on Sunday evening?

We have been contacted by someone who said they saw the phenomenon as they drove along Princess Elizabeth Way.

He asked us via twitter: "Seen two fireballs in the sky when heading down Princess Elizabeth Way. Heard anything?" He added that he was driving with his son and noticed two bright lights which dimmed and left smoke trails. I really can't believe me and my son would have been the only ones to see them, they were bright enough," he said.


Fireball 3

Bright meteor fireball seen over northern U.S and Canada

A very bright fireball was seen in the northern US and Canada around 04:53 UTC on February 18, 2017. The event was captured in 3 NASA all-sky cameras and cameras belonging to the Southern Ontario Meteor Network.

Analysis of the video data shows that the meteor was first detectable at an altitude of 83 km (52 miles) above US Highway 219, southeast of the Pennsylvania town of DuBois. It then moved northeast some 42 km (26 miles) through the atmosphere at almost exactly 64 400 km/h (40 000 mph), ablating 42 km above the countryside just north of Winslow Hill, NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office (MEO) said.

The camera data shows very little deceleration of the meteor, which gives it a poor chance of producing meteorites, MEO said and added that more analysis is required to rule this out. "The object had the brightness of a quarter Moon, which means we are dealing with an asteroid fragment weighing about 9 kg (20 pounds), with a diameter of roughly 18 cm (7 inches)."


Fireball 2

Bright meteor fireball lights up sky in Southern Alabama

© NASA
The reports of sound indicate that it penetrated fairly low into the atmosphere before fragmenting, perhaps as low as 14 miles in altitude.
Local 15 has confirmed with NASA that a bright meteor was seen just after 9 p.m. Saturday.

Saturday night reports began circulating on social media about a large fireball in the sky and a loud boom. Residents in Southern Alabama reported that they heard a loud boom that shook their homes. NASA says that the fireball first appeared to the Northeast of Mobile and moved west at about 56,000 miles per hour.

The average brightness is that of the Full Moon, leading experts to believe that it was probably about a foot or two in diameter. Using eyewitness reports and a software tool to derive a ground track NASA was able to conclude that the best reports indicate the meteor broke apart above U.S. 43, just North of Mobile.

The reports of sound indicate that it penetrated fairly low into the atmosphere before fragmenting, perhaps as low as 14 miles in altitude.

Comment: This meteor was also reported in western Florida.


Fireball

Valentine's Day meteor fireball spotted over Eastern US

© Chris Wolf/AMS
AMS Event#614-2017 – screeenshot of a video shared by Chris Wolf on the AMS Website.
53 reports from Pennsylvania, Connecticut, New Jersey, New York and Maryland

The AMS has received 63 reports so far about of a fireball event over seen over Pennsylvania on Tuesday, February 14th 2017 around 08:32pm EST (Feb 15th - 01:39 UT.). The fireball was seen primarily from Pennsylvania but witnesses from Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, and Maryland also reported the event. Some witnesses described the meteor as orange, yellow and white. After a fairly extensive investigation, we came to the conclusion that it wasn't Cupidon but a bright meteor.

First Estimated Trajectory

The map below shows the witnesses location with the first estimated trajectory. The preliminary estimated trajectory plotted from the witness reports shows the meteor was traveling from the West to the East and ended its flight somewhere over Scranton, PA.

Meteor

Mystery object (possibly a meteorite) lands in UK garden after loud thump in middle of night

© Bury Times
This mysterious rock like object is causing quite a stir in Lowercroft.

Now the couple in whose garden it was found are hoping someone may be able to shed some light on what it is — and where it came from.

Pauline and Norman Pollard were baffled to discover the striking black and yellow material in their garden, just days after hearing a loud noise.

Initially the couple thought it may be a meteorite - and don't know whether the noise is related to the find.

Mr Pollard, who lives in Lowercroft Road, aged 74, said: "We found it in the garden after we had heard a loud bang or thump in the middle of the night, it was like a car door banging."

Fireball 4

Bright green meteor fireball illuminates skies over Wisconsin and Illinois

© American Meteor Society
AMS Event#454-2017 – Caught on a Police Dashcam (Lisle, IL PD)
Over 170 reports from IL, WI, MI, IN, OH, IA, NY, Ontario, KY and MN

The AMS has received over 170 reports so far (and counting...) about of a fireball event over seen over Wisconsin on Wednesday, February 6th 2017 around 01:27CST (07:31 UT.). The green fireball was seen primarily from Illinois and Wisconsin but witnesses from Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Iowa, New York, Kentucky, Minessota and Ontario (Canada) also reported the event.


Fireball 5

Bright meteor fireball captured over Caeté, Minas Gerais, Brazil

© Via Twitter@Rainmaker1973
Bright fireball captured over Caeté, Minas Gerais, Brazil on January 30, 2017.


Fireball 2

Asteroid attack? Yet another asteroid to give Earth a close shave

© ESA
Space rock block party!
For the fourth time since the start of 2017, a small celestial body will pass closer to Earth than the distance between us and the moon. Recently discovered asteroid 2017 BS32 zips by around midday Thursday.

This latest narrow shave comes just a few days after the closest such flyby in months, prompting observers and some astronomers to wonder if the apparent blitz of tiny planetoids could be more than mere coincidence.

According to astronomer Paul Cox at the Slooh observatory, the apparent bursts of small, close-approaching asteroids were first spotted just before buzzing us initially sparked discussion in 2016.

"One possibility sprang to mind -- that these clusters of smaller asteroids making close approaches to Earth over relatively short periods of time were in fact the fragments from larger asteroids that had broken up," Cox said via email. "However, when we reviewed the orbits of each of the asteroids, we found no correlation between them -- showing clearly they weren't associated in any way."

Cox said the scientists also looked for a connection to seasonal changes or to weather at observatories that might reduce discoveries of nearby asteroids, but there was no conclusive data to be found.

Binoculars

Close encounter! Asteroid discovered yesterday whizzed 70,000 km from Earth

The near-Earth asteroid 2017 BH30 was discovered by the Catalina Sky Survey in Arizona (USA) on 29 January 2017 and announced later the same day by the Minor Planet Center: it was going to have a very close encounter with the Earth, at 0.18 lunar distances (about 70.000 km).

At Virtual Telescope Project we captured 2017 BH30 while it was safely approaching us. Above is an image coming from the average of two 60-seconds exposures, remotely taken with "Elena" (PlaneWave 17″+Paramount ME+SBIG STL-6303E robotic unit) available at Virtual Telescope. The robotic mount tracked the fast (36″/minute) apparent motion of the asteroid, so stars are trailing. The asteroid is perfectly tracked: it is the sharp dot in the center, marked with two white segments.

To get these impressive results, the Paramount ME robotic mount tracked using the ephemerides retrieved via the JPL's Horizon webserver. At the imaging time, asteroid 2017 BH30 was at about 500.000 km from us and safely approaching. Its diameter should be around 5-10 meters or so.

The observations provided by the Virtual Telescope Project were published by the Minor Planet Center on its electronic circular MPEC 2017-B121.

Asteroid 2017 BH30 safely reached its minimum distance of about 70.000 km from us on 30 Jan. 2017 at 04:51 UT.

Over the years, our capability to detect small asteroids improved quite a lot, hence the apparently higher numbers of close approaches we see these days.

Comment: That would depend on how soon you want to detect them.

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