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Fire in the Sky

Fireball 2

Geminid fireball filmed buzzing comet Wirtanen

comet wirtanen fireball
© Joe Lawton
The radiant of the Geminid meteor shower is not very far from approaching Comet 46P/Wirtanen. Their respective constellations, Gemini and Taurus, are next door neighbors. That means comet photographers can expect to catch some Geminids in their exposures. Indeed, that's exactly what happened to Joe Lawton of Gerald, Missouri, on Dec. 9th. "As I was photographing 46P/Wirtanen, a Geminid meteor blazed across the sky and disintegrated next to the comet!"

"I combined a series of still images to create this video," he explains. "You can see smokey debris from the Geminid meteoroid twisting in the winds of the upper atmosphere and ultimately dissipating."

How often is this happening? Just last night Harlan Thomas of Powderface Trail, Alberta, and Dr. Paolo Candy of the Cimini Astronomical Observatory in Italy also caught Geminids streaking past the comet.

Comment: With the arrival of the Geminids, and even a week or so before, fireball sightings, have risen rather dramatically:

Fireball 2

Back-to-back meteor fireballs fly through Washington's sky

Washington meteor
© American Meteor Society, adapted by CWG
Heat map showing where eyewitnesses spotted the first of two fireballs Monday evening, as well as the estimated path of this fireball.
If you looked up at the right times Monday evening, you may have seen something out of this world. Not one, but two, bright fireballs lit up the skies Monday evening, widely visible from D.C. to New York.

The first occurred about 4:56 p.m., 10 minutes after sunset in Washington. It illuminated the twilight eastern horizon, burning vibrant shades of green, blue and white as it exploded in our atmosphere. It lasted about five to seven seconds as it fell, fragmenting into a number of smaller shards like a doomed firework.

The fireball "looked like an airplane going super fast but then disappeared about as quickly as I saw it," commented Samantha Tungul, a Capital Weather Gang Facebook follower who witnessed the event in Prince William County.

Other eyewitnesses described it as "like a stray firework," "green and slow moving," and "an incredibly bright blue white streaking ball."

Comment: Meteor fireball events have been increasing in recent years. See also: Michigan Meteor Event: Fireball Numbers Increased Again in 2017

The American Meteor Society (AMS) received 49 reports about a meteor fireball seen over Texas on Tuesday, December 11th 2018 around 01:59 UT.

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Bright meteor fireball over Granada, Spain on Dec.10

Fireball - stock image

Fireball (stock image)
The meteor on this video was recorded over Granada and Almería (Spain) on 2018 Dec. 10 at 3:51 local time (2:51 universal time).

It was generated by a rock from an asteroid that hit the atmosphere at about 86,000 km/h.

It began over Granada at an altitude of about 94 km and ended over the province of Almería at a height of around 35 km.

The event was recorded in the framework of the SMART project (University of Huelva) from the meteor-observing stations located at La Hita (Toledo), Calar Alto (Almeria), La Sagra (Granada), Sierra Nevada (Granada) and Sevilla.

Comment: This is the fifth fireball seen over the region this December, see also:

Three bright meteor fireballs recorded over Spain in five hours

Bright and slow meteor fireball filmed over Spain on Dec. 2

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Spectacular meteor fireball event over Mexico City

Bright meteor fireball disintegrates over Mexico City on December 8, 2018
© Youtube
Bright meteor fireball streaks over Mexico City on December 8, 2018.
A bright meteor fireball streaked across the sky on December 8, 2018 above Mexico City reports WTHR. It lit up the sky in the Mexican capital in the early hours of the morning.

An amateur photographer caught it on camera before it disappeared behind some trees. The photographer, Jorge Diaz Henry, shot the video on his digital camera and shared it on social media.

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Meteor fireball filmed disintegrating over Fullerton, California

Fireball over Fullerton, CA
© YouTube/DAHBOO77
On November 30, 2018, YouTuber 'DAHBOO77' uploaded footage sent to him by viewer in Fullerton, California showing a fireball streaking across the sky and disintegrating:

The video was reportedly recorded the night before, though we were unable to confirm the event with the American Meteorological Society. Fireball sightings were reported the day before and the day after in Winterhaven and Pasadena.


Meteorite may have fallen in Wyoming last week

Meteor fireball (stock image)
© Ikonacolor, Getty Images (stock image)
A meteorite may have fallen near the Wind River Reservation last weekend. Around 5:30 a.m. on December 1st, several Riverton residents saw a fireball streak across the sky, then heard a loud, window-rattling crash two to three minutes later.

One eyewitness reported his observations to the American Meteor Society, describing a bright white object on the horizon, descending from right to left at 5:33 a.m, followed by the sound of "large thundering" around 5:36 a.m. County 10 documented a series of sightings from shocked citizens on social media. Similar sightings were also reported in the towns of Ethete and Ft. Washakie and the boom was heard 80 miles north in Dubois, according to Buckrail.

It's not the first time a suspected meteorite has been seen in the area. In 2015, several witnesses reported a "green" fireball flying over Riverton. Cody astronomer Dewey Vanderhoff also documented a bolide meteor later that year.


Loud boom rattles windows, causes plaster to fall from ceilings in Coventry, UK

Mystery boom in Coventry
© Coventry Telegraph
The cause of an enormous bang that shook houses across Coventry remains a mystery.

It comes as defence chiefs denied the incident was caused by fighter jets flying at supersonic speed.

The incident on Sunday night sparked a major 999 operation as police and fire crews searched for the source of the 'explosion' which appeared to be centred in Longford.

It was so loud it was heard as far away as Willenhall, Walsgrave and Bedworth, and caused windows to rattle and plaster to fall from ceilings.

There were fears a gas substation in Grindle Road, near the Ricoh Arena, had exploded but this was ruled out.

There were also no major crashes in the area that night and the British Geological Survey said no earthquakes had been recorded at that time.

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Three bright meteor fireballs recorded over Spain in five hours

Spain meteor
© YouTube/Meteors (screen capture)
Three bright meteor events were spotted over Spain on the night of 4-5 December 2018, at 23:51, 2:33 and 4:41 local time, respectively. These were generated by three rocks from three different comets that hit the atmosphere at velocities ranging between 150,000 km/h and 200,000 km/h.

The meteors overflew the provinces of Valladolid, Granada, Jaén and Albacete. They were recorded in the framework of the SMART project (University of Huelva) from the meteor-observing stations located at La Hita (Toledo), Calar Alto (Almeria), La Sagra (Granada), Sierra Nevada (Granada) and Sevilla.

Fireball 5

Bright and slow meteor fireball filmed over Spain on Dec. 2

Fireball - stock image

Fireball (stock image)
This bright and slow meteor event was recorded over Spain on 2018 December 2, at 4:46 local time (3:46 universal time).

It was produced by a fragment from an asteroid that hit the atmosphere at about 50.000 km/h.

The fireball began at an altitude of around 81 km, and ended at a height of about 36 km.

It was recorded by the meteor observing stations operating in the framework of the SMART Project from the astronomical observatories of Sevilla, La Hita (Toledo), and La Sagra (Granada).


Meteorite that fell in Madagascar came from early solar system

Meteorite found in Benenitra, Madagascar
© Wits University
A fragment of the Benenitra meteorite showing the black fusion crust and thumbprint-like depressions (called regmaglypts) that offered early evidence that this rock came from space. These features formed by melting during its entry into the atmosphere.
Four months ago, people in a small Madagascar town caught sight of a fireball shooting across the early-evening sky. Its boom was so loud, the ground shook.

A search for pieces of this celestial visitor soon followed. Researchers stitched together eyewitness accounts to help them understand what came down from the heavens on July 27.

What people saw crashing down, according to this detective work, was an ancient, 4.5 billion-year-old meteor from the early solar system.

This space rock is now called Benenitra, named after the small town in southwestern Madagascar where it landed. Fortunately, Benenitra rock fragments appear to have missed any people or buildings, according to a Nov. 26 statement about the findings.