Fire in the SkyS


Mystery of Green Fireball 'UFOs' Solved?

© Courier Mail / Channel 9 TVGreen fireballs seen in the Australian sky were captured in photos, this one taken by a member of the public in Brisbane.
Green fireballs that streaked across the sky and rolled down an Australian mountainside four years ago, spurring reports of UFOs in the area, might have been meteors and ball lightning, a researcher suggests.

At least three traffic-light green fireballs brighter than the moon but not as bright as the sun blazed over northeast Australia on May 16, 2006. A farmer saw one with a blue tapering tail pass over the mountains of the Great Divide about 75 miles (120 kilometers) west of Brisbane, then watched a phosphorescent green ball about 12 inches wide (30 centimeters) roll slowly down the side of a mountain, bouncing over a rock along the way.

Green fireballs have been seen many times in the sky, and are typically explained as meteors whose shockwaves lead to electrically charged oxygen similar to that seen in auroras. In fact, a commercial airline pilot who landed in New Zealand that day reported seeing a meteor breaking up into fragments, which turned green as the bits descended in the direction of Australia. The timing of the fireballs suggests they might have been debris from Comet 73P/Schwassmann - Wachmann 3, said physicist Stephen Hughes at the Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane.

Comment: The reader may enjoy a more in-depth look at fireballs: Meteorites, Asteroids, and Comets: Damages, Disasters, Injuries, Deaths, and Very Close Calls


US: Mystery Sonic Boom Rattles Georgia

© Unknown
In the evening hours, residents of three Georgia counties, Carroll, Douglas, and Haralson, were settling down to a relaxing post-Thanksgiving Friday. Then, their night was shattered by a huge explosion. The noise is easily explained away, but the cause remains to be determined. When an airplane travels faster than the speed of sound, the resulting noise is a horrifying explosive thunder known as a sonic boom. Usually, the only airplanes breaking the sound barrier are military aircraft, but according to the FAA, there are no military flyover zones in the area of Georgia where the mysterious sonic boom was heard. Rural Georgia was rocked by a sonic boom that seems to have no cause.

Not only were there no military aircraft in the area, there were also no meteors spotted, according to amateur astronomer Michael Covington. There were no bright lights that would be associated with a meteor, no explosions, and no damage to anything in the area where the booming was heard.


'Fireball' Lights up Northern Ireland Sky

© BBCAn artist's impression of a meteorite fall.

A fireball was spotted in the skies over Northern Ireland on Sunday evening, Armagh Observatory has said.

A spokesman said they had been "inundated "with calls about an object in the sky which was on fire.

A caller from Coleraine said the object burned bright yellow and orange and had a long tail.

A caller from County Down said it was a ball of fire.

The Observatory spokesman said it was probably a piece of space debris, either man-made "space junk" or a small asteroid or fragment of a comet, entering the Earth's atmosphere at many kilometres a second.

It may well have finally burned up over the North Atlantic Ocean off the Donegal coast.


US: Mystery Blast Likely a Sonic Boom, Official Says

Was it an explosion? An earthquake? A Klingon attack vessel?

Residents of Carroll, Douglas and Haralson counties, west of Atlanta, heard a big boom last night, and officials for all three counties spent considerable effort trying to figure out what caused it.

They're still trying.

Douglas County Communication Director Wes Tallon said "911 calls lit up" the switchboard after the 9:45 p.m. mystery noise rattled windows across a large area of west Georgia.

"There was no catastrophe, we know that," said Tallon early Saturday morning, who said the public did not report any fires or explosions.

And no utility companies reported trouble either. "We've called everyone under the sun trying to figure this one out," said Tallon. "We used the process of elimination and the only thing we can think of is that is was a sonic boom of some kind. To be able to be heard and felt 30 miles away in Haralson County it had to be something like that."


US: Fireball Over Tampa

Jet, Fireball, Meteor, space junk, or UFO?

Several Polk County viewers called yesterday evening to report something in the sky over Tampa Bay, Florida.

The callers believed the object may have been a meteor or other object entering Earth's atmosphere.

Photos sent by one viewer showed the bright object with some sort of vapour or smoke trail behind it. They were taken at around 5:45 pm.

It's not clear if the object was a passenger jet with its exhaust trail illuminated by the setting sun, or if it was a meteor or piece of space junk being burned up as it entered the atmosphere.


Canada: Great balls of fire?

County - A bright sight in the skies in the western part of Lunenburg County during the November 18 supper hour is said to be part of the Leonid meteor shower.

There was information from an ambulance travelling in the Italy Cross area reporting a fireball had fallen from the sky.

Initial radio dispatches indicated a possible plane crash had happened. Paramedics were placed on standby as police rushed to find out more details.

But the authorities came up with nothing. Police and Halifax's joint rescue co-ordination centre (JRCC) later confirmed no aircraft were missing, nor had any hit the ground.

"We checked through JRCC and there's no aircraft anywhere in the area, there's no radar contacts of any kind and it was at the height of the meteor shower," Lunenburg County RCMP Cpl. Don Gray said.

He said the paramedic saw "something burning in the sky," but it disappeared quickly.


US: Fireball streaks across the sky in Hawley, Texas


North Carolina, US: Have you heard the area's mysterious booms recently? Tell us where you were

Southeastern North Carolina has been rattled these past few weeks by mysterious booms that have been heard in Brunswick, Pender and New Hanover counties. Some folks even reported explosive sounds so loud that they shook buildings.

No one has determined what is causing the booms, though some have rather humorous theories. In any case, we want to start keeping track of when and where these "Seneca Guns," as they're called, are heard.

And we need your help.

Please follow the link below and fill out a short form to tell us when and where you heard the booms recently. I know many of you posted to Facebook and Twitter to discuss the events as they were happening, so those might be a good place to check to refresh your memory of specific dates and times.


US: Meteor lights up the sky

Marietta fireball_1
© LaeschkeMarietta fireball.
Marietta: An impressive fireball in the sky could be seen over Marietta, Georgia, on November 19, 2010 at about 5.15 PM. Two airplanes flew towards the object that looked like a meteorite descending from west to east on a low trajectory.

Meteoroids are debris-particles in the solar system. The visible path of a meteoroid that enters the atmosphere is called a meteor. The remains of objects that reach the ground and survive the impact are called meteorite. Most meteors are the size of a pebble and become visible about 40 and 75 miles (65 and 120 kilometers) above the Earth's surface.

Larger meteors crate a fireball as seen in the picture. While most do not survive the passage through the atmosphere, some large meteorites did impact. The resulting craters are usually circular depressions that have raised rims and floors that are lower than the surrounding terrain.


'Huge ball of fire' actually meteor shower, N.S. officials say

They feared it was a plane crash but it turned out to be a meteor shower lighting up the night sky.

Early Thursday evening, emergency crews rushed to Nova Scotia's South Shore after getting reports that a "huge ball of fire" had fallen from the sky near Exit 16 on Highway 103.

RCMP and search and rescue officials were dispatched to the area around Italy Cross.

But after thorough checks, it was determined there had been no plane crash, Scott Burgwin of the Maritimes Search and Rescue Co-ordination Centre in Halifax said in an interview.

"We're pretty sure there were no aircraft (in the area)," Burgwin said just before 8 p.m. "We think it was some sort of natural phenomenon like a meteor shower."

The call of the "huge ball of fire" came in around 6:30 p.m. from an ambulance driver in the area, said RCMP Sgt. Brigdit Leger.