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Mon, 27 Feb 2017
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Fire in the Sky


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.

Forget About Global Warming: We're One Step From Extinction!

Fireball 3

Meteor fireball observed across 11 southern U.S. states

If you saw a bright flash in the sky around 6:16 a.m., it wasn't lightning. It was a short trail, exploding fireball that lasted around three seconds.

Check out this still image captured by ArkansasSky.com near Greenbrier, Arkansas. They caught a big flash on their camera in the lower part of the sky between 20 and 30 degrees above the horizon.

There were several sightings in Collierville and scattered reports from Louisville, KY to Austin, TX. Check out the map to see all the sightings as of 9:30 a.m.

Comment: The American Meteor Society (AMS) received 120 reports about a fireball seen over AR, TN, TX, MO, OK, KY, KS, IL, NE, LA and MS on Monday, January 30th 2017 around 12:13 UT.

© AMS (screen capture)


Meteor fireball spotted over Leeds, UK

© Yorkshire Evening Post
The meteor over Allerton Bywater.
Is this a meteor in the skies over Leeds?

Kelly Moss snapped the burning light hovering over Brigshaw High School in Allerton Bywater at around 4.30pm on Wednesday, as dusk was falling.

A meteor, often called a shooting star, is the visible passage of a glowing meteoroid, micrometeoroid, comet or asteroid through Earth's atmosphere, after being heated to incandescence by collisions with air molecules in the upper atmosphere, creating a streak of light via its rapid motion and sometimes also by shedding glowing material in its wake.

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Security camera captures meteor fireball lighting up the sky in Huntersville, North Carolina

© Via YouTube/rungoiron
Not sure what my security cam captured last night, but maybe there is a cute alien living in my neighbors backyard now! Huntersville, NC.

Comment: Another view from a dashcam in Watuga County, North Carolina:


Mysterious boom rattles San Diego residents

© 7 San Diego
Several people across San Diego County reported hearing a loud, mysterious boom Tuesday afternoon.

An NBC 7 viewer told us, around 3:18 p.m., she heard two loud booms that shook the windows in her home in Santee.

There were multiple posts on social media of people reporting their homes rattled from the boom. The posts were from residents across the county, including Clairemont, Santee, and San Diego.

Some wrote that they suspected the sounds were caused by a sonic boom, but NBC 7 has not confirmed that.

Comment: Fox News San Diego reports two large "bangs" were heard. Residents also reported a car moving back and forth and a "large glowing ball in the western sky".

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Brilliant green meteor fireball photographed over Southern India

© Prasenjeet Yadav
While exploring the sky islands of the Western Ghats in 2015, molecular ecologist turned photographer Prasenjeet Yadav shot a rather rare photograph with a green meteor up in the sky and the twinkling lights of the town below. It earned him a plethora of awards, including National Geographic Nature Photographer of the year, 2016, and also an Honourable Mention in the Landscape Category by National Geographic. The photograph was shot on October 9, 2015, and Yadav was at the Nilgiri's near Ooty when he shot the green meteor. The town he is overlooking is Mettupalayam.

"This is probably the only composed photo of a green meteor. No photographer can plan this shot. This can happen for a fraction of second anywhere in the universe, and the fun part is, I was sleeping when my camera captured it. Everything else was hard work but for those 15 seconds, I was the luckiest photographer on the planet," says Yadav, who was working on a story on sky islands of Western Ghats when he shot this. Along with bird ecologist Dr Robin Vijayan, Yadav was working on a project to understand the role these mountains play in the formation of new species.

Born in Nagpur, Yadav went to Bangalore to pursue research at the National Center for Biological Science. In 2013, he moved to photography and began concentrating on environment and conservation stories. He is reportedly the only Indian to be represented by the National Geographic Creative. Although he has stepped away from the academic realm, Yadav considers himself a non-traditional scientist and often collaborates with researchers, policy makers and conservationists for his projects in the world of nature photography. Currently, he is working on a story on the sky islands of southern India for National Geographic and is documenting the unseen species of amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals found only in the south Western Ghats.

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Bright green meteor fireball lights up skies over Exeter, UK

© John Maclean
The meteor fireball over Exeter
A bright green 'fireball' lit up the skies over Exeter as a meteor blasted through the atmosphere and gave a spectacular natural light show.

The 'bolide' meteor was a random ball of metals that exploded as it entered the atmosphere - and experts say it may have landed before it was able to burn up.

The flash was caught for more than seven seconds as it streaked over our skies, thanks to a meteor observation camera at Exeter Observatory.

The observatory's John Maclean, a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society, said the flash was so bright it was easily visible to the naked eye.

He said: "Someone saw it and called me, so this was obviously a very bright one. The person who saw it was out walking their dog and described a bright green flash. This was a bolide, or fireball - not usual."

Mr Maclean, an astronomer and lecturer who works with NASA and has a 25-year military background, said the Exeter Observatory is part of a network that captures more than 20,000 meteors on camera every year - but very few this impressive.

He said the Exeter camera is part of the 48-camera UK Meteor Monitoring Network.

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Meteor fireball seen in the skies above Huddersfield, UK?

What appears to be fireball has been spotted in the Yorkshire skies.

A short video clip, filmed by 22-year-old Abbey Shaw, seems to show a blaze of fire streaking through the sky above Huddersfield.

Shaw, who works at the University of Huddersfield's IT department, is baffled as to what it could be.

'I don't have a clue what it is,' she said, 'It looks like some sort of fireball. I do not think for one minute that it is a plane!

'Everyone at work agrees with me too. You can tell by the speed that it is travelling at.

Fireball 2

Meteor fireball blazes across Siberian city of Omsk

Motorists were given an extraordinary experience as the meteor blazed across the sky.
Motorists in the city of Omsk in Siberia were treated to the rare phenomenon as the falling space rock crashed to earth. The meteor, which appeared in the Omsk Oblast, appeared to be a massive fireball and was visible for miles. However experts say the flaring object was actually probably small enough to fit in your pocket.

Vladimir Krupko, head of the local planetarium, said: "Most likely it was a small meteorite, the size of a walnut.

"Since it was flying up high in the air, it was visible from other cities as well.

"When it entered the atmosphere it caught fire at about 120 kilometres (74.5 miles) above the ground, and by the time it was 40-60 kilometres (25-37 miles) above the ground the fire had gone out."

Despite there being plenty of larger objects whizzing around our solar system, no large meteorites, which are debris from a comet, asteroid, or meteoroid, are expected for at least 100 years, Mr Krupko said.

Comment: A few weeks ago two large meteor fireballs were caught on camera in northwestern Russia.

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Meteor fireball seen over Donegal, Ireland

© Via YouTube/Donegal Weather Channel
Last night Saturday 21st of January I had clear sky for the fist part of the night here in Donegal, Ireland and had my camera out covering the night sky when a beautiful fireball fell too the north sky. I was lucky enough of to capture this as it was starting to cloud over.

I had a number of reports on my Facebook page of the same fireball which was seen in another few spot of The northwest and northern Ireland.

The Fireball occurred at 9.32pm 21st January 2017.

Note that the video is looped.