Fire in the SkyS


The sky is falling! Witnesses often reluctant to report Canada's many meteorite strikes

Who you gonna call?

No, not when you see a ghost - but when you spot a meteorite falling from the sky.

It happens more often than you would think.

When a suspected meteorite landed on a Spruce Grove golf course recently, a number of residents continued to come forward with their own stories.


Flashback Two "Tunguskas" in South America in the 1930's? The Rupununi event

I now move on to the suspected explosion over British Guyana in 1935. The main source for information on this event is a story entitled "Tornado or Meteor Crash?" in the magazine The Sky (the forerunner of Sky and Telescope) of September 1939(5). A report from Serge A. Korff of the Bartol Research Foundation, Franklin Institute (Delaware, USA) was printed, he having been in the area--the Rupununi region of British Guyana--a couple of months later. The date of the explosion appears to have been December 11, 1935, at about 21h local time. I might note that this is near the date of the peak of the Geminid meteor shower, but yet again this may be merely a coincidence. The location is given as being near Lat: 2 deg 10min North, Long: 59 deg 10 min West, close to Marudi Mountain.


Flashback Two "Tunguskas" in South America in the 1930's? The Rio Curaca event

There is evidence that there were two massive bolide explosions which occurred over South America in the 1930's. One seems to have occurred over Amazonia, near the Brazil-Peru border, on August 13, 1930, whilst the other was over British Guyana on December 11, 1935. It is noted that these dates coincide with the peaks of the Perseids and the Geminids, although any association with those meteor showers is very tentative. The identification of such events is significant in particular in that they point to the need for re-assessment of the frequency of tunguska-type atmospheric detonations.

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Flashback Unsolved Case: Low-Altitude Fireball

Part 1: A show of gold

Thursday Oct 3, 8:00pm Saw what appeared to be a low-altitude fireball, heading north from the plains, into the southern end of the Sangre de Cristos, just southeast of Santa Fe.

When I first saw it, it was in full glory; I don't know how much I missed. It burned brilliant green, with active, changing head and tail, for several (3-6) seconds, then disintegrated in a show of gold, into 4 or 5 smaller pieces, glowing white, spread out in a line, until they seemed to burn out, another 3-5 seconds later.


Flashback A rain of around 70 tons of iron

February 12, 1947

This week marks the golden anniversary of what is arguably the most spectacular meteorite fall ever seen. At 10:40 a.m. on February 12, 1947, a incredibly bright fireball seared its way across the sky of eastern Siberia and rained around 70 tons of iron meteorites onto the rugged landscape. Because it was so well documented, the Sikhote-Alin fall proved a great boon to meteorite science.

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Flashback Daytime meteor startles West Texans

It wasn't the end of the world. It just looked like it to those people who saw a cosmic fireworks show over Southwest skies.

A midday meteor streaking above West Texas and New Mexico on Thursday sent residents scurrying to their phones to report what many feared was an airplane exploding or some kind of aerial collision.

Satellite image of meteor


Meteorites may have fallen in southern France following sighting of massive meteor fireball

The fireball left a spectacular glowing trail in the night sky
The meteor that stunned several French people on January 25th in the late afternoon, may not have fallen in the surroundings of Bourges (Cher), as was first believed.

According to the research done by Dominique Caudron, an amateur astronomer in the North of France, the falling point would be located "a little bit toward the East of Albi, in the surroundings of Paulinet".

In an article published by le Figaro, Pierre Lagrange, a sociologist of sciences and member of the College of Experts working in a team of study and information on Unidentified Space Phenomena (Geipan) at the Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales (National Center of Space Studies) in Toulouse, gives a precise description of the calculations of the young astronomer.

This new localization helps to understand the many reports from witnesses gathered in the Tarn department, even if the celestial object was also seen in other departments of the 'Midi toulousain' (the region surrounding Toulouse).

Comment: Sounds like maybe there were two of these fireballs in France that day, not just one, given the differences in the reports.

Update March 2008

Another fireball over France was captured on camera:


Chunk of meteorite leaves small hole in Bourges, France

Visitors from space ?

A plane on fire ?

Just after 6pm Friday 25th January, residents in the southern French city of Avignon rang the local police to report seeing "strange blue and green lights in the sky." Almost immediately Gendarmes and firefighters took to the roads to follow the lights, fearing that their source may be an aircraft on fire and about to crash. However it was quickly established that the blue and green trail of light was in fact coming from a meteorite.

©Dirk Beauregard


Argentina: Fireball fell from the sky

Yesterday the people of Santa Lucía were surprised when a black porous rock fell from the sky. Today the CASLEO (Astronomic Complex El Leoncito) is analyzing the rock to determine if it is a meteorite or not.

"It was like a fire ball that traversed the sky", several witnesses said yesterday.


Puerto Rico: Fireballs Over Ponce

A cellphone report received on Saturday 01.12.08. Domingo Morales phoned Andrew Alvarez to make a report on sightings in the City of Ponce. Mr. Alvarez told him to phone me. Mr. Morales reported the following:

1. His brother, a resident of Valle Alta, Ponce, told him that on Friday, January 4 2008 at 9:30 p.m,., his wife called him over to look at a fireball over their house. Upon going outside , he saw an immense ball of red fire. The wife didn't see it approach, rather she saw it suddenly appear and light up on the spot. It remained static for some 20 minutes at an approximate altitude of 300 feet. It spent 20 minutes lighting on and off. The fireball finally diminished the intensity of its color and began moving SW in a zig-zag pattern, going up and down. It had the apparent size of a baseball stadium floodlight.

2. On Saturday January 5, 2008 at 9:40 p.m., Domingo's brother phoned again, this time to have Domingo climb onto the rooftop of his house to see if it was possible for him to see the fireball, as he (the brother) was seeing it. Domingo lives in Los Caobos, but was unable to see the object from his home. According to Domingo's brother, the fireball was over the same site, above his house and exhibiting the same behavior.