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Fri, 30 Sep 2016
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Fire in the Sky

Better Earth

Giant asteroid to pass between earth and moon in November

© unknown
An asteroid a little smaller than the CN Tower is hurtling toward earth and astronomers have their cameras ready for a spectacular glimpse.

Called 2005 YU55, the asteroid will nudge closer to earth than the moon, passing by just 325,000 kilometres away.

Although modern technology will give astronomers the best-ever look at the travelling piece of cosmological history, there is no fear it will actually smack into earth.

"At one time we had classified 2005 YU55 as a potential threat," said Steve Chesley, a scientist at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory's Near-Earth Object Program Office.

Radar tracking last month, with the asteroid 2.3 million kilometres away, meant "we were able to rule impacts out entirely for the next 100 years."


A Fireball The Size of Earth

"When the sun rose on May 2nd, I was surprised to see a fully detached fireball prominence at the southwestern edge of the solar disk," reports amateur astronomer Jan Timmermans of Valkenswaard, The Netherlands. "Just imagine, a ball of fire with the size of the Earth thrown high in the solar skies!"

© Jan B. Timmermans
"I was stunned," he continues. "The prominence was rather faint, so I had to use a lot of gain to capture it, hence the noise: 'more gain = more grain.' But I am pleased that I captured it!"

More Sun-Spots:
From Stephen W. Ramsden of Atlanta, Georgia; from John Minnerath of Crowheart, Wyoming; from Lyle Anderson of Duluth, Minnesota


US: Possible Meteor or Space Debris 'Event' Seen, Felt Across South

Valdosta - A meteorite or space debris may have been the cause of fireballs reportedly seen in South Georgia skies Friday night and the resulting impact felt from one end of Lowndes County to the other.

Meanwhile, similar reports of fireballs were filed throughout the state and in other states, according to the American Meteor Society.

The Lowndes County 911 Center reported Saturday that an exact cause of the phenomenon was never located. Authorities received several calls Friday night reporting debris landing in specific regions, but nothing was ever located.

Moody Air Force Base reported no sonic booms, an effect caused when an aircraft breaks the sound barrier, and no downed planes.

The reports started at approximately 10 p.m. Friday. Authorities continued responding to related calls reportedly past midnight.

Officials believe space debris may have been the cause of the disturbance, said Paige Dukes, Lowndes County public information officer.

The majority of 911 calls came from south Lowndes County as people reported seeing either a fiery object or fiery objects falling from the skies. People also reported a "boom" or series of "booms" rattling windows and shaking houses.

Some people reported sounds similar to tapping on their windows, a pounding on doors, or a limb falling on a roof.


Meteorite lands on roof, northern Poland

© Unknown
A meteorite weighing about a kilogramme smashed into the roof of a Masurian agro-tourism farm in the village of Sołtmany, near Kruklanki, northern Poland.

Nobody was hurt but some damage was done to the roof.

Parts of the meteorite, which descended on Saturday causing some damage to a barn roof, was recovered by astronomers from Olsztyn, and will be examined by Professor Tadeusz Przylibski from Wrocław Technical University. Then it will be handed over to the Nicolas Copernicus Museum in Frombork or to the Planetarium in Olsztyn.

The meteorite, the biggest piece of which is about the size of a human fist, has also caused a stir in the Polish scientific community as it is the first planetoid fragment in 17 years to be recovered immediately after its fall to Earth.

Probably the specimen is a chondrite, a fairly common type of meteorite, derived from the belt of planetoids between Mars and Jupiter.


US: Green fireball reported over Jacksonville, Florida

A Jacksonville, FL, witness reports watching a "green fireball fall down to Earth" at 10:05 p.m. on April 29, 2011, according to testimony from the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON) witness reporting database.

"I was jogging toward the north when, in the corner of my eye, I saw a green flash in the sky," the witness stated. "I stopped to watch as my first instinct was that it might be a passenger jet with a serious problem. For about 5 seconds I watched a green fireball fall down to the Earth. This was toward the west. The event only lasted about 5 seconds before it disappeared in a bright flash."


US: Green fireball reported over Lafayette, Indiana

© Examnier / File illustration
The green fireball - which may be a natural phenomena - has been spotted all across the U.S.
An Indiana couple driving along old Route 231 near McCutcheon High School in Lafayette, watched a "very bright green-ish, glowing ball falling towards the Earth," according to May 1, 2011, testimony from the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON) witness reporting database.

"It scared both of us very bad, but was also exciting," the reporting witness stated. "Instead on stopping and turning at our road to our neighborhood, we decided to keep going down the road to see if we could see it again because it went behind the treeline."

The couple did not see the object again.


Fireball Meteor or Space Debris over Doha, Qatar, Saudi Arabia

Fireball Meteor or space debris over Doha, Qatar 10.30pm. 30 APR 2011
Low horizontal trajectory with flaming tail. First thoughts it was flame from aircraft engine but no noise then i could see it breaking or burning up over the sea. Did not think meteors would travel in what seemed horizontal path in an easterly direction. - Nicholas Couts

Bizarro Earth

Fireball confirmed Friday night with more trails of fire in the sky this week! A new month will bring a new weather pattern!


Here is what it looked like Friday night in our sky at about 10:15 p.m. The nice festive weather was not the only talk of the town this weekend, that is for sure! The bluish-white streak of light with a green tail and red fragments was a fireball or bolide which raced east in about 8 seconds. Here is a file picture of what a bolide actually looks like. It lit the sky up and was much brighter than last month's super moon. It was a simply stunning sight. We had several e-mails in from Camden County Georgia last night of folks saying they have never seen a meteor that bright and it was so intense that a sonic boom was heard about 2 minutes after it passed near the horizon. It did look like it may have made it to the ground but there is no confirmation on this as of yet. It was seen as far west as Alabama and as far north as South Carolina!

This is a rare type of meteoroid or shooting star that happens when a much larger space rock that meets our atmosphere. Usually meteoroids are the size of grains of sand this one was likely larger and maybe the size of one or two of my weather clickers which I showed on Good Morning Jacksonville to give you some more perspective. The trailing reddish tail that seemed to be burning up was caused by this space rock igniting due to extreme friction when it met the earth's atmosphere traveling at close to 100,000 mph! The blue and green colors tell us its chemical composition was made of copper. The reddish color was a sign that it was also made of silicate.

This type of event is rare and only occurs about once every year. This week we will keep our eyes to the sky for more shooting stars. We have the Eta Aquarids meteor shower that peaks on Thursday night and Friday morning. Expect about 10 shooting stars per hour and they are known to also leave fiery trails since these meteors making up this shower are known to move at a whopping 150,000 mph. Make sure to look to the east southeast about an hour or two before dawn on Friday morning. This shower is caused by the earth going through the dust trail of Halley's comet which will not be visible to earth until mid-2061 and was last seen our sky in 1986. Enjoy the show.


Geomagnetic Storm

A solar wind stream hit Earth's magnetic field during the early hours of April 30th, sparking a high-latitude geomagnetic storm (slowly subsiding). In the United States, auroras descended as far south as Marquette, Michigan, where Shawn Malone took this picture before sunrise:

© Shawn Malone
"High humidity and clouds dampened the light a bit, but the green liights were still bright enough to reflect off the waters of Lake Superior," says Malone.

High-latitude sky watchers should remain alert for auroras. The solar wind speed is high and gusty, and NOAA forecasters estimate a 40% chance of more geomagnetic activity during the next 24 hours.


Big Sunspot 1195 - Possible M-Class Flares Directed Toward Earth This Weekend

This detailed image of sunspot 1195 looks like it was taken by one of NASA's most advanced space telescopes. In fact, it comes from someone's backyard in the Netherlands. Scroll down for the full story, and carefully examine the starscape as you go:

© Emil Kraaikamp
All around the sunspot, the stellar surface is literally boiling. The blobs shown so clearly in Kraaikamp's picture are solar granules, akin to rising blobs of water in a pot on a hot stove. These blobs, however, are made of plasma and they are about the size of Texas.