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Fire in the Sky

Fireball 2

Mystery remains over boom loud enough to rattle houses in Bay of Islands, New Zealand

Could the mystery boom have been caused by a meteor, like this one recorded by a dashcam in Portland, in the United States? PHOTO / FILE
A loud boom which shook houses and alarmed pets in the Bay of Islands is likely to remain a mystery, with a meteor a possible explanation.

Whatever it was, it was strong enough to be picked up by a seismograph used to monitor earthquakes but almost certainly came from the sky.

Residents in Oromahoe, Ohaeawai, Puketona, Kawakawa and Opua reported hearing what sounded like a loud explosion about 6.15pm on Sunday. Others reported a "blinding flash" around the same time.

Serena Jenkins, who lives at Oromahoe, said it was loud enough to shake her home.

"It was amazing. It felt like something had crashed into our house. We went outside straight away but we couldn't see anything."

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Rare daytime meteor photographed at Namadgi National Park, Australia

© Ari Rex
Photographer Ari Rex snapped this meteor hurtling past Earth while taking pictures in Namadgi National Park.
It was an uncanny case of right time and right place when photographer Ari Rex snapped this streaking ball of light at the Namadgi National Park.

Mr Rex was teaching a photography workshop at the Orroral Homestead when he unexpectedly captured a meteor hurtling past Earth.

"Last Friday, during the new moon, I went to Namadgi National Park to teach an advanced Milky Way photography workshop," he said.

"It's very dark out there when there is no moon so it makes it perfect for photographing the Milky Way, especially now in winter."

Although he expected to snap some stellar shots of the twilight sky, he was completely surprised by the photos when he looked back at them.

"I was lucky enough to capture this meteor in my frame. This is a rare phenomenon," he said.

"Usually you see them at night. But you typically never see them during the day.

"According to some quick calculations I did - considering the shutter speed of the shot - I found that the meteor was travelling at least 60,000 kilometres per hour."

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Meteor fireball spotted in New Territories, Hong Kong

© Hong Kong Space Museum, Facebook/Ng Yuen
The phenomenon was captured by a camera from the Hong Kong Space Museum’s Sai Kung iObservatory (left). The fireball races across the night sky (right).
A fireball was seen streaking over Hong Kong skies on Saturday night, with multiple Facebook posts suggesting that the 'bolide' meteor was seen by netizens in Yuen Long, Tai Po and Sheung Shui.

Some netizens said they mistook the bright flying object emitting green light for an airplane or a drone. Others said it could have been a UFO (unidentified flying object), Headline Daily reports.

A video clip from a dash cam shows the fireball streaking across the sky from left to right at a moderate speed for about five seconds.

The Hong Kong Observatory later confirmed on its Facebook page that the phenomenon was captured by a camera from the Hong Kong Space Museum's Sai Kung iObservatory at 10:42 p.m.

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Meteor fireball reported over England and Wales

© IMO (screen capture)
Heat map of 1768-2017 Fireball event
The UK Meteor Network (UKMON) has received over 20 reports and many messages on social media of a meteor fireball on 27th May 2017 over England and Wales just after 10PM BST. It was captured by Exeter and Wilcot stations (see images below).


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Meteor fireball streaks across sky over Texas

For the past two years, Aaron Olmsted has had a dash camera mounted in his car. He says he has it because he drives a quick car and the camera comes in handy in certain situations.

But early Friday morning was the first time his camera ever captured a fireball streak across the sky in Bastrop. Olmsted and his wife were driving back to their Bastrop home from the Austin airport around midnight when they noticed the bright light.

"We both spotted it," says Olmstead. "My wife was driving, and I was in the passenger seat and we both saw it and we were both amazed."

The couple said they're not sure if anyone else saw what they saw because it was late and there weren't that many people driving on State Highway 71 in Bastrop at the time.


Meteor fireball filmed over Tashkent, Uzbekistan

© Via YouTube/ca-news ca-news
Residents of Tashkent saw a meteorite in the sky above the city.

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Green meteor fireball turns on explosive performance over New Zealand

© Tuki Sweeney
Last night's meteor, captured on a camera phone by Pirates rugby club members.
Hundreds of people across the district last night got a perfect view of an extraterrestrial visitor, as a meteor briefly entered the atmosphere and exploded in a ball of green light.

"It was like a shooting star then it sort of exploded and fireballed itself a bit further, then it was gone. It was as moving so fast, but so so pretty," one witness reported to The Gisborne Herald.

Other witnesses said it resembled a "green fireball", and one said it was the size of "six houses".

Scores of others also reported the sighting to weatherwatch.co.nz.

"Biggest brightest comet we've ever seen in all our 56 years. Quick and flashy. Seen in awe from Otoko near Matawai," one report said.

Sightings of the meteor were recorded from 7.15pm onwards, and were noted across New Zealand.

Met Service meteorologist Lisa Murray confirmed there were no unusual atmospheric conditions at the time.

"There was plenty of clear sky, so it would have been perfect viewing, with a temperature of 12 degrees and very light winds."

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Bright meteor fireballs recorded over Brazil

© YouTube/Exoss Citizen Science (screen capture)
A bright meteor fireball was captured by an Exoss camera located in São Sebastião / São Paulo, Brazil on 13th May 2017. The second video below shows a slow moving meteor recorded from Bramon (Brazilian Meteor Observation Network) station ARA1 / RJ on the same day.

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Comet Johnson joins the ranks of visible comets

© Chris Schur
Comet Johnson (C/2015 V2) glowed pale green and displayed a short tail on April 2nd.
Another binocular comet? You better believe it. Comet Johnson takes center stage at nightfall this month and next.

Nothing against Giacobini, Kresak, Mrkos, and Pajdusakova, but this is one comet name I can pronounce with confidence. Even better, it's been humming along very well, thank you, while waiting for its turn at center stage.

At magnitude +8.5, Comet Johnson (C/2015 V2) is already bright enough to join the ranks of this year's band of binocular comets: NEOWISE (C/2016 U1), 45P/Honda-Mrkos-Pajdusakova, 2P/Encke, 41P/Tuttle-Giacobini-Kresak, Lovejoy (C/2017 E4), and PanSTARRS (C/2015 ER61). Comet watchers appreciate the bonanza; we've been happily toting out scopes and binoculars to follow the progress of each in its turn.

As the Moon toddles east and wanes, dark skies return as soon as May 12th. The timing couldn't be better, with Comet Johnson making a steep dive through the constellation of Boötes high in the southeastern sky at nightfall while also reaching peak brightness.

I last caught sight of the comet shortly just before dawn on May 6th. In 10×50 binoculars, Johnson was a faint, patchy glow in Canes Venatici. The view in my 15-inch reflector was more satisfying. At 76×, Johnson displayed a moderately condensed coma about 8′ across with a ¾° long broad, diffuse tail pointing northwest. Upping the magnification to 286×, I could see a tiny, almost stellar nucleus of magnitude +13.5 at coma center.
© Rolando Ligustri
What a little sunshine won't do. By May 1st, Comet Johnson had developed a long, faint ion tail pointing straight away from the Sun as well as a stubby dust tail.
Studying a comet's nucleus is a strange experience. At low magnification, it might appear fairly bright, but the more you magnify, the smaller and fainter the nucleus (pseudo-nucleus actually, since the true nucleus is hidden by reflective dust) becomes until you're staring at just a faint pinprick of light at the heart of a dusty maelstrom.


Meteor fireball filmed streaking over South Florida

Keys deputy among those who spotted meteor streaking over South Florida
A fireball streaked across the sky overnight, according to multiple reports.

By 4 a.m. Wednesday, the American Meteor Society received nearly 50 reports about the flaming streak in the night sky.

A meteorologist at CBS Miami also recorded video, the station's website said.

The object was likely a meteor breaking up in the atmosphere. It was visible from the Keys to Port St. Lucie on the east coast and as far north as Tampa on the west coast, reports said.