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Meteor Streaks Across Sky Over Hungary

© nae.hu
This photo of the meteor was taken by the Nagykanizsa Amateur Astronomer Association.
A flaming meteor streaked over Hungary late Friday evening, according to eyewitness accounts on several websites.

Weather portal Idokep.hu put the meteor over Western Hungary at 9:46pm, based on eyewitness accounts by several hundred readers who watched it move across the sky for 3-4 seconds. A loud explosion could be heard near Lake Balaton a few minutes later.

The meteor was moving in a northeasterly direction, according to an eyewitness account posted on the homepage of the Nagykanizsa Amateur Astronomers Association, based in southwest Hungary. "It appeared so close that we almost started looking for the meteorite," the eyewitness said.

Other accounts posted online show the ball of fire was visible from Budapest and as far east as the city of Miskolc.

Meteor

Pacific island's big bang blamed on meteor

An exploding meteor was believed to be responsible for a huge bang that reverberated around the Pacific island of Niue last week.

Niue police chief Mark Chenery said the loud bang on Wednesday night woke the island's 1,200 residents and he initially thought a boat had exploded in the harbour.

Mr Chenery said there was widespread speculation about the cause of the noise, but the Carter Observatory in New Zealand has told him it was likely to be a meteor exploding 20 kilometres above the Earth.

Meteor

Exploding meteor wakes Pacific island nation

Image
© Unknown
This file photo shows a streak of a meteor, seen in the night sky.
An exploding meteor was believed to be responsible for a huge bang that reverberated around the Pacific island nation of Niue last week, according to police.

Niue police chief Mark Chenery said the loud bang on Wednesday night woke the island's 1,200 residents and he initially thought a boat had exploded in the harbour.

Chenery said there was widespread speculation about the cause of the noise but the Carter observatory in New Zealand had told him it was likely to be a meteor exploding 20 kilometres (12.5 miles) high in the atmosphere.

"There was a large (noise), a huge clap of thunder but it was its normal starry night outside," he told Radio New Zealand.

"People have described seeing a white light, like a flare, shooting across the sky. Niue is 64 kilometres around and it was heard in Lakepa in the northwest down to Avasele in the southeast, so it was certainly heard island-wide."

Meteor

Perseid Meteor Shower Peak Coming Aug 13, 2011

© n/a
The Perseid meteor shower is an annual meteor shower that is extremely regular in its timing and can potentially be visible for weeks in the late summer sky, depending on weather and location.

The Perseid meteor shower is named after the constellation Perseus, which is located in roughly the same point of the night sky where the Perseid meteor shower appears to originate from. This is a useful naming convention, but not very accurate!

The source of the Perseid meteor shower is actually debris from the comet Swift-Tuttle. Every year, the earth passes through the debris cloud left by the comet when the earth's atmosphere is bombarded by what is popularly known as "falling stars."

When and where to look for Perseids in 2011

In 2011, visibility (the weather also notwithstanding) will be somewhat limited by a full moon on August 13 which will likely wipe out fainter meteors from view.

Meteor

Fireball: 21 June 2011, 11:10am, Rotorua, New Zealand

Bearing in mind I know nothing of comets, I initially thought it might be one. I googled for other sightings and haven't found anything as yet. I did find Asteroid 2011MD but that wasn't due to go past till 27 June 2011. What's your opinion? One of the above? Meteorite? Some kind of UFO? We're stumped and really surprised there's been nothing in the media about it.

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Sun

Coronal Mass Ejection Impact on Earth - In Progress Now

NASA's ACE spacecraft, which measures the speed of the solar wind just upstream of Earth, indicates that a CME impact on our planet is in progress. High-latitude sky watchers should be alert for auroras in the hours ahead.

Image
© NOAA
Update:
Analysts at the Goddard Space Weather Lab report a strong compression of Earth's magnetosphere in response to the CME impact. "Simulations indicate that the magnetopause separating magnetospheric and solar wind plasma is close to the geosynchronous orbit starting at about 19:20 UT on August 5th. Spacecraft [in these] orbits may be directly exposed to solar wind plasma and magnetic field."

Sun

Rare Night-Time Solar Radio Burst

The M9-class solar flare of August 4th produced a burst of shortwave static so powerful that receivers on Earth picked it up after sunset. "A RadioJove observer in Florida recorded the burst when the sun was 38 degrees below the horizon," reports amateur radio astronomer Thomas Ashcraft. Ashcraft's own radio telescope in New Mexico recorded the event 1 hour and 54 minutes after sunset:

© Space Weather
"To my knowledge, receptions like this are very rare," says Ashcraft.

Indeed they are. This event brings to mind the iconic night-time solar radio burst of March 8, 1958. Five radio telescopes at the University of Florida picked up emissions from the sun while observing the planet Jupiter in tthe middle of the night. On the other side of the world, radio astronomers in day lit Australia confirmed that a powerful solar radio burst had taken place at that exact time. The event is described in a 1959 Nature paper by pioneering radio astronomers Alex Smith and Tom Carr. They considered the possibility that solar radio waves might have been reflected by the Moon or carried to the night side of Earth by ionospheric ducting. In the end, they could not conclusively explain what happened and to this day night-time solar radio bursts remain a puzzle.

Meteor

Now in the Night Sky: Comet Garradd

© Peter Lake
Comet Garradd on Aug. 1. 2011 as seen from Australia.
If you haven't already, it's time to start looking for Comet Garradd! This comet, with the nomenclature C/2009 P1, is now coming into small telescope/binocular view so here's your chance to see the brightest comet in the current night sky. You can find it in the late evening sky in the constellation Pegasus. Viewing it now, Garradd is just coming out the "fuzzball" stage, and its tail is just coming into view.

Some say it's much better looking than that other comet, Elenin, that has been needlessly grabbing some headlines. Comet Garradd was discovered two years ago by Gordon Garradd from the Siding Spring Observatory in Australia, and is currently visible through a small telescope at about magnitude nine.

Above is an image of Comet Garradd from Peter Lake (aka Astroswanny) from Australia.

Meteor

New Zealand: Loud Noise Heard in Niue Thought to be Caused by a Meteor

© Unknown

The Niue police chief says a large bang heard around the island late on Tuesday night sounded like thunder but may have been a meteor exploding.

Mark Chenery says the island has been abuzz about the loud noise and inquiries made at Wellington's Carter observatory suggest it was probably caused by a meteor detonating about 20 kilometres above Niue.

Mr Chenery says he initially thought a boat had blown up down at the wharf.
"There was a large, a huge clap of thunder but it was its normal starry night outside. People have described seeing a white light, like a flare, shooting across the sky. Niue is 64 kilometres around and it was heard in Lakepa in the north west down to Avasele in the south east, so it was certainly heard island wide."
Mark Chenery says there have been no reports of damage.

Sun

For the Third Day in a Row - Active Sunspot 1261 Has Unleashed A Significant M-class Solar Flare

The latest blast at 0357 UT on August 4th registered M9.3 on the Richter Scale of Flares, almost crossing the threshold into X-territory (X-flares are the most powerful kind). The number of energetic protons around Earth has jumped nearly 100-fold as a result of this event.

The eruption propelled a bright coronal mass ejection (CME) toward Earth. Click on the image to view a movie of the expanding cloud recorded by the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory:


Moving at an estimated speed of 1950 km/s, this CME is expected to sweep up two earlier CMEs already en route. Analysts at the GSFC Space Weather Lab say the combined cloud should reach Earth on August 5th at 13:55 UT plus or minus 7 hours: "The impact on Earth is likely to be major. The estimated maximum geomagnetic activity index level Kp is 7 (Kp ranges from 0 - 9). The flanks of the CME may also impact STEREO A, Mars and Mercury/MESSENGER."