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Mon, 22 Apr 2019
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Fire in the Sky

Ornament - Red

Texada Island, Canada resident witnesses flashing ball of light, 'definitely a meteor'

Fireball over Texada Island, BC - stock
© Neal Lasalle/Unsplash
Witnessing what he believed to be a meteor slice across the early night sky on Dec. 11 was a big thrill for aerospace aficionado Doby Dobrostanski.

The 75-year-old Texada Island resident was sitting in his car in the BC Ferries parking lot at the Blubber Bay terminal, when a ball of light traversed almost the half of the skyline in fewer than three seconds.

He said there was no sound.

"I spotted the meteor and in several seconds it was gone," Dobrostanski said.

This was no ordinary meteor, according to Dobrostanski, who has had his eyes fixed towards the night skies for decades.

Dobrostanski knows more than a little bit about meteors and astronomy. He said that he teaches various courses at aerospace camps on Texada Island.


Meteor fireball lights up the sky over southern Japan

Fireball over Japan
© Mainichi/Yoshiyuki Hirakawa
A bright fireball from the Geminid meteor shower streaks across the sky above the natural scenic site "Hashiguiiwa," in the town of Kushimoto, Wakayama Prefecture, on Dec. 14, 2018.
Fireball over Japan
© Mainichi/Yoshiyuki Hirakawa

Fireball 4

Meteor fireball lights up San Francisco Bay Area, leaves glowing 'dragon' trail

San Francisco Bay Area meteor
© Twitter via @ohheyfella
A mysterious light appeared in the early evening sky over the San Francisco Bay Area on Wednesday.
A mysterious light with a twisting, smoking tail appeared in the early evening sky over the San Francisco Bay Area on Wednesday, but local astronomers had a scientific explanation.

It was a meteor, according to the University of California's Lick Observatory near San Jose.

"A bright meteor was visible in the skies over the Bay Area shortly after sunset this evening, leaving a bright trail that was visible for many minutes in the western sky," the observatory wrote on Facebook.

Initial reports of the meteor sighting came in around 5:30 p.m., the Bay Area's FOX 2 reported.

Twitter exploded with photos and comments about the glowing phenomenon.

"@NASA white blaze in sky what is dis? Maybe a plane?" user Jose Armando Solis tweeted.

Jeremy Thomas said the light "flashed bright green for a few seconds as it fell and appeared to split up," previously adding that "something fell out of the sky."

Comment: Most interesting. Here's video footage:

Note that the news presenter described the glowing trail it left behind as a 'noctilucent cloud'. She's right, kind of. This kind of trail is itself a relatively novel phenomenon. Both rocket trails from outgoing take-offs and meteor trails from incoming space debris leave such glowing trails down on a regular basis now.

That's why meteor/comet fragment trails are so easily (and happily) conflated with rocket launches, and why we have such a hard time telling them apart...

See also:


Loud boom heard in Paxton, Illinois

Mystery boom in IL
It remained unknown Sunday morning what caused a mysterious, explosion-like noise that rattled the windows of homes in Paxton on Saturday night and could be heard in towns as far as 30 miles away.

Speculation over what may have happened continued well into Saturday night on social media and into Sunday morning at local cafes and coffee shops. Some wondered if it was a jet that broke the sound barrier during a test run or perhaps a meteor that entered the earth's atmosphere at supersonic speeds.

It was at 9:15 p.m. Saturday when the big "boom" could be heard in a swath of East Central Illinois spanning from as far south as Rantoul, Gifford and Ludlow to as far north as Cullom, Gilman and Thawville to as far west as Gibson City to as far east as Milford and Hoopeston.

The Ford County Sheriff's Office's dispatch center in Paxton received several calls about the noise, including one person saying they could hear it in Thawville, but no fires or damage of any kind had been reported in Ford County.

Ornament - Blue

Loud explosion heard across East Bakersfield, California leaves residents, authorities confused

Bakersfield, CA sign
© Wikimedia Commons
A loud boom that was heard across East Bakersfield last night has residents and authorities confused as to where it came from.

According to BPD, they started receiving calls for the noise around 10:32 p.m. last night. BPD says they received calls as far east as City in the Hills and as far west as the 3500 block of Bernard Street near Oswell Street and Highway 178. BPD officers responded to the calls, but the source of the sound was not located.

23ABC reached out to the Bakersfield Fire Department, Kern County Sheriff's Office, and Edwards Air Force Base. BFD says they did receive a call about the noise around 10:30 p.m., however they have no information about the origin of the noise. According to Edwards Air Force Base, they did not have any launches or tests for last night.

Candy Cane

Loud boom over Columbus, Georgia remains a mystery

Mystery boom in Columbus, GA
© greystoneproperties.com
Columbus, Georgia
About 10:30 this morning, something went boom over the Columbus region.

The loud noise rattled windows in midtown Columbus and could be heard as far away as the backwaters on Lake Harding.

The last time this happened it was an aircraft from Robins Air Force Base in middle Georgia; Base officials were contacted Friday afternoon and said it was not an airplane from Robins that caused the issue.

A Fort Benning official said it did not come from the nearby Army post.

News 3 has been making some calls to see what the disturbance was. It was likely a sonic boom but the source has not been discovered.

Fireball 4

Huge green meteor fireball from Geminid meteor shower captured on Indiana officer's dash cam

© Howard County Sheriff's Department/Facebook
An Indiana officer got a stunning view of the Geminid meteor shower — known as one of the best meteor shows of the year — from his patrol car late Wednesday.

Cpl. Chris Cramer from the Howard County Sheriff's Department was driving on a roadway just before midnight when a flash of bright light caught his eye.

"[He] caught what appears to be a meteor entering our atmosphere on his dash camera near 600 E. on SR22," the sheriff's department posted on Facebook Thursday night, along with a 20-second clip.

Fireball 3

Rare fireball shines 10,000 times brighter than Polaris from Beijing's urban area

Fire meteor spotted in Ningxia Hui
© VCG Photo
Fire meteor spotted in Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, China.
On December 13, a fire meteor of magnitude -8.1 was detected by a meteor monitoring site in Beijing.

The fireball came from this year's Geminid meteor shower. At 22:51 on December 12, the monitoring site first detected a shooting star of magnitude 1.7. Two hours later, the site observed the fire meteor of magnitude -8.1.

To measure the brightness of stars, astronomers created the concept of magnitude. The greater the magnitude is, the darker the star is. Zhang Chao, a science popularization worker at China's National Astronomical Observatory, told Beijing Youth Daily that the brightness of a fireball is usually greater than magnitude -1, but the brightness of this fireball observed in Beijing reaches magnitude -8.1, which is very rare.

Fireball 2

Video shows meteor fireball streaking across the sky in Austin, Texas

Fireball - stock image

Fireball (stock image)
Did you see it? A fireball was spotted streaking across the sky in several parts of Texas and in Oklahoma.

Dash cam video shows the fireball as it fell from the sky in Austin on Monday night.

According to the American Meteor Society, there were 62 reports of people seeing it.

Some people in the Houston area also reported seeing the fireball.

Fireball 2

Bright meteor fireball seen in the sky over Maine

Fireball - stock image

Fireball (stock image)
Several Mainers reported seeing a bright fireball streak across the sky early Wednesday, part of the Geminid meteor shower that promises to enthrall stargazers here for the next couple of nights.

The American Meteor Society so far has received 12 reports of the bright and large meteor seen over Connecticut, New Hampshire, Maine and New Brunswick just after midnight Tuesday. Jeff Beam of Falmouth was one of six Mainers who reported seeing the meteor.

Comment: Local news station, WOKQ 97.5, reported a loud boom that was heard across Maine:
People all across Maine, from Boothbay Harbor all the way to York County, claim they heard a loud boom last night shortly after midnight.

WMTW Channel 8 in Portland, ME says the American Meteor Society heard from about a dozen people reporting a meteor in southern Maine and western New Hampshire. One person described it to them as a "deep rolling."

United States Geological Survey hadn't reported any earthquakes in Maine or New Hampshire, according to the report from WMTW.

The TV station says Michael Coslet sent them a video of a light crossing his yard in Durham. While other people on Boothbay Harbor felt some shaking.

So what was it...a meteor or an earthquake? No one is certain yet. I'm going to go out on a limb here and suggest Santa may have been doing a test run on a new sled. Sure it sounds crazy...but at this point anything is possible.