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Comet 2

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.

Fireball

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.


Fireball 4

Bright light seen shooting across Wellington's night sky

When Stephen Moore installed a dashcam in his vehicle, it wasn't to capture footage of UFOs.

But that's exactly what happened when his son witnessed a bright light shoot across the Wellington sky shortly before 8pm on Tuesday.
© Stephen Moore
The dashcam captured the bright light on Wellington's Featherston St.
The pair eagerly returned to their home in Hataitai and downloaded the footage from the camera.

"It records in real time, so after we saw it we thought it was too fast to be a plane," said Moore.

Brett Jennings saw something similar in Nelson, and said the light was bright green in colour.

Attention

Loud, mysterious bang leads New South Wales residents to look toward the heavens

© Daily Examiner
Lower Clarence residents were looking to the heavens last night after a loud, mysterious bang was heard in Maclean, Townsend, Gulmarrad, Wooli and Ashby shortly before 9pm last night.

The incident caused a stir on social media, with more than 170 comments on Maclean Buy, Swap and Sell Facebook page.

The Daily Examiner is investigating the cause of the loud bang. But with no definitive answers yet, theories being shared range from the logical such as a sonic boom from a meteorite, to the outrageous, including a UFO crash.

If you heard or saw anything from last night's big bang, tell us your story.

Earlier this week there were reports of other loud bangs following meteorite sightings across northern NSW and south-east Queensland.


Comment: The above event was on Sunday, about 6pm according to reports: Bright meteor with house-shaking sound reported over Queensland, Australia


The timing has coincided with the start of the annual Lyrid meteor shower event, which is active from about April 16 to 25.

Fireball

Beach camera films bright meteor fireball over Dawlish, UK

© dawlishbeach.com
Whilst sat enjoying the late night view on the cameras, i was very surprised to see a bright light shoot across the screen.

Considering tonight is a very bright full moon we don't often see much of the night sky.

The following video will give you your own chance to make your mind up as to whether this is another meteor or just a vert bright shooting star.


Fireball 2

Bright meteor with house-shaking sound reported over Queensland, Australia

© Deslee Oldham Facebook
THERE have been reports of a house-shaking thud in Killarney after the meteorite was spotted in our skies last night.

Our sister paper, the Warwick Daily News reported the buzz on social media: Brigitte Jones said, "I felt it out here, the house shook."

Madeline Wilkins posted "I'm in Toowoomba and saw a burning light in the sky maybe a meteorite, heading that direction just before I saw this post... Maybe related?"

Killarney resident Krissy Bloomfield said, "On Brosnan Rd kids saw what we thought shooting star just before the bang."

Some residents reported thinking the noise was thunder or fireworks.

Louise Reed from the Queen Mary Falls Caravan Park posted, "We heard it up here too. It looked like a shooting star right before it and then bang."

And this from Krystal N Lillee Cook, "We heard it in oak street...was really loud like a big crack of thunder."

Comment: Last September a 'huge meteor' exploded off the Queensland coast with a shockwave coming onshore, rattling residents and homes.


Fireball 2

Meteor seen shooting across North Carolina sky

© Earl Ayers
Did you see it? A bright light, streaking across the night sky was a delight to many across the Carolinas and throughout the Southeast. WFMY News 2 is getting lots of reports about a meteor Wednesday evening.

According to reports, the meteor flew through the night sky around 8:43pm. Those who saw it describe a bright, white light lasting for about 10 seconds, and say it's a sight they'll never forget. Reports have been coming in from North Carolina, including the Triad area, as well as South Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee, Georgia and even Florida.

Earl Ayers tweeted a video of the meteor captured on a camera at a home in Cornelius, North Carolina. Make sure to look to the upper left to see the bright light.

Fireball 4

Trail of meteor fireball captured on camera over Plymouth, UK


The mystery object - believed to be a meteor - tore through the skies above Plymouth

Ben Landricombe was walking to work in Plymouth early this morning when he caught glimpse of the "shooting star".

The council worker then raced back to his house to grab his camera before the rare sight disappeared from the red-hued Devon sky.

Ben, 36, said: "I've never seen anything like it in my life.

"I was driving to work, then I saw a big spark in the sky. I thought I better get my camera.

"I missed the meteor coming through the atmosphere, but I saw the sparks coming down, travelling really fast."

Fireball 2

Meteor fireball captured over Rome, Italy

© Daniele Cataldi
Meteor, Fireball, Bolide taken by Daniele Cataldi on April 9, 2017 in Italy, Lariano, Rome.

Fireball 4

Bright meteor fireball streaks over Southern California skies

© Leticia Odanga/twitter (screen capture)
What appeared to be a fireball shooting across the night sky prompted a great deal of reaction on social media Monday evening.

The bright flash was spotted a little before 9 p.m. from as far south as San Diego, north to Los Angeles and as far east as Phoenix. Here is some of what people claim they saw.


Comment: The American Meteor Society (AMS) received 518 reports about a fireball seen over AZ, CA, Baja California, MA, NV and NM on Tuesday, April 11th 2017 around 04:00 UT.