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Fire in the Sky

Fireball 2

Perseid meteor shower contained 14 fireballs over the U.S. on August 4th

File photo of meteor
The Perseid meteor shower can also produce fireballs in the sky. In fact, last night 14 fireballs were produced from the Perseid meteor shower.

Fireballs are meteors that have a glowing tail. They are officially rated fireballs if the glowing tail is brighter than Venus.

Mike Murray, astronomer at the Delta College Planetarium, says the Perseid meteor shower gives us the best chance all year to see fireballs. Fireballs are created when the larger meteors take a longer time to burn up and disappear. By larger, Murray says the fireball meteors are still only about the size of a pea.

NASA has a camera network of 15 cameras pointing at the sky. These cameras can see and record the fireballs. Groups of these cameras are located in the Southeast U.S., the Northeast U.S. and the Southwest U.S.


Sungrazer comet 'vaporized' by sun during 1.3 million mph plunge

Stunning footage from the European Space Agency (ESA) and NASA's Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) captured a bright 'sungrazer' comet as it darted toward our star at colossal speed on Thursday.

The space rock, composed of compacted ice and dust, was part of the 'Kreutz' family of comets, according to NASA.

This 'sungrazer' group of comets follows a related orbit in our solar system after breaking off from a huge comet centuries ago. Dozens have already been recorded evaporating in the solar atmosphere.


Perseid cosmic sky-show forecast to be spectacular performance this month

NASA is advising the world to pack up and go hiking on the night of August 11-12 to watch a spectacular shooting star show, as the annual Perseid meteor shower is forecast to beat all records this year.

"Forecasters are predicting a Perseid outburst this year with double normal rates on the night of August 11-12," Bill Cooke, from NASA's Meteoroid Environments Office in Huntsville, Alabama, said on Tuesday. Cooke noted that under perfect conditions, we will be treated to up to 200 meteors every hour.

The "outburst" the NASA man is referring to means this year's cosmic dance is set to be far more crowded than usual. The last time the event happened on such a scale was 2009.

The Perseid meteor shower wows spectators with its swift and extremely bright meteors, traveling at a speed of 60km per second. A Perseid meteor is a small piece of debris left in the wake of the ancient Swift-Tuttle comet, which orbits the sun every 133 years. Despite these visits into the inner solar system being so rare, each of them gives off trillions of comet particles. When Earth passes through this trail of debris, the particles enter the planet's atmosphere and break up in bright specs of light.


'Unusally large' meteor fireball explodes over Denver, Colorado

© Chris Peterson, Cloudbait Observatory, Research Associate, Denver Museum of Nature and Science
If you happened to be up early Monday and saw a bright flash of light in the northern sky then you probably witnessed a very large meteor exploding as it entered Earth's atmosphere.

The event happened at 3:23 a.m. and was captured by two cameras in Colorado, one mounted on the roof of the Denver Museum of Nature and Science and the other at the Cloudbait Observatory in Guffey.

"By combining the data from both cameras, I can determine that the fireball exploded over Cheyenne, Wyo., at a height of 105 km (roughly 65 miles)," said Chris Peterson with Cloudbait Observatory. Peterson describes the meteor as being unusually large with a brightness similar to the full Moon and having a large breakup in mid-flight, leaving enough material to continue burning afterward.

"Usually explosions like this are terminal, completely disrupting the body and leaving nothing to continue," said Peterson. It's not known if the meteor was part of the Southern Delta Aquarid meteor shower, currently in progress, or if it had a different origin.

CBS4 Photojournalist Rob McClure happened to see it and said it lasted about 10 seconds.

Peterson is looking for anyone else who witnessed the meteor. You can click here to file a report.

Video footage is available here.

Fireball 4

Bright greenish-blue meteor fireball explodes over Puerto Rico

© YouTube/kevinizooropa (screen capture)
A greenish bright meteor was visible from several areas of the island on the night of July 26, 2016, reported the Caribbean Astronomical Society (SAC). The educational institution conducted an analysis suggesting it was a meteor Alfa Capricornids, a slight meteor shower associated with comet debris 169P / NEAT.

Although Capricornids Alfa is not a meteor shower well known and is not intense, it can produce bright meteor. A curious fact is that gradually the area of ​​waste comet 169P / NEAT will be in the future closer to the path where the Earth orbits the sun. Both, estimated could produce "meteor storms", ie showers very intense meteor from the year 2220 so our distant descendants will be those who will enjoy such intense spectacle of nature.

Meanwhile, we can make do with seeing a few that will be visible in the next few nights. On these nights some related to light rain and Alfa Delta Aquarid meteors will be Capricornids while in mid-August will be the Perseids, which is anticipated this could be more active than usual year, the SAC said.

Visit www.SociedadAstronomia.com and Facebook.com/sociedad.astronomia

(translated by google)


Re-entering Chinese rocket stage streaks across the Western U.S.

© Flickr/ jpstanley
A flaming fragment of space junk from China's newest satellite launcher blazed through Earth's atmosphere over the Western United States late Wednesday.

Darting across the skies of California, Nevada, Utah, Idaho and Colorado, the object disintegrated into numerous chunks before disappearing. The relatively slow speed of the fireball — it took nearly a minute to cross the sky — ruled out a natural origin, experts said.

The video above was captured by Matt Holt in Utah County, Utah.

Fireball 3

Fireball spotted over much of Western and Northern California

© KCRA viewer Daniel Miles

KCRA viewer Daniel Miles shared this photo on Wednesday, July 27, 2016.
A streak of light was seen over the eastern sky of Northern California Wednesday night. The light was also seen over Las Vegas, Salt Lake City and Reno.It is unclear what caused the light, which was first spotted around 9:45 p.m.

According to NASA, the Delta Aquarids meteor shower is expected to peak Thursday and Friday. It is also possible the streak was caused by space junk. NORAD and U.S. Strategic Command said they did not know what the streak of light was.

No other details were available.

Comment: Electrically charged meteors can travel very slowly and tend to disintegrate and shed as they do.

Fireball 5

Meteor fireball seen flying through Phoenix skies

Valley residents have seen their share of unusual lights in the sky over the years, and it happened again Thursday night. It happened just after 9 p.m. Viewer Robert Northrop posted video of the odd light on his Facebook page.

While the light is nothing like the bright meteor that was seen -- and heard -- all over the state, it's definitely something.

What kind of something we do not know yet but check out the video. The light is small and fast so we highlighted it to make it easier for you to see.

You can see the light enter the top of the frame left of center. It zips down on a diagonal, briefly disappearing and then flicking once more before vanishing behind the light.

Fireball 2

Blue meteor fireball lights up the sky over Cork, Ireland

File photo of meteor
At midnight on Thursday, while most of Cork was tucked up in bed, bright flashes of light were turning the sky overhead blue.

"We think it might have been a random fireball," David Moore, editor of Astronomy Ireland magazine, told the Irish Examiner.

"A fireball is just a piece of material burning up in the earth's atmosphere, it's just a very bright shooting star," he added.

Mr Moore said that if anyone in the south west of Ireland saw the flashes of blue light, to visit Astronomy.ie and click on the link 'Report a Fireball.'
Just saw the whole #sky light up looking North from #Cork Like #lightning only none on radar?? What gives?? #Meteor? #Fireball? #Explosion?

— Darren Forde (@darrenforde) July 21, 2016

Comment: The skies certainly seem to heating up lately, the above is the 7th fireball report within the last 5 days:

Fireball 4

Meteor fireball 'brighter than Venus' seen in Osaka, Japan

© Via Facebook/Satoshi Uehara
At 3 this morning, 25 minutes, 50 seconds of fireball.
- 5.3, etc. It was brighter than Venus around, but if the dark shadows I think I can.

Comment: Multiple sightings of a meteor fireball over Japan