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Fri, 09 Dec 2016
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Fire in the Sky


Multiple explosions from meteor fireball shake buildings in General Roca, Argentina

© Arynews.tv
Residents of a city in southern Argentina got a scare when a series of powerful explosions shook homes and buildings Wednesday, but the cause turned out to be a natural wonder: a meteor disintegrating overhead.

It was an ordinary Wednesday afternoon in General Roca, a city of 85,000 people, when suddenly a series of loud blasts caused buildings to shake and windows to rattle. "Everything trembled," said Martin Soria, the local mayor.

Police, firefighters and emergency workers rushed to the scene, but found no evidence of a bomb, earthquake or calamity.

Finally, scientists pieced together the reason: A meteor had entered the Earth's atmosphere some 10,000 meters (33,000 feet) overhead, traveling at 2,400 kilometers (1,500 miles) per hour.

"It took everyone by surprise because it entered the atmosphere over an inhabited area. If it had fallen over the desert, the sea, Antarctica, we would never have known," said astronomer Roberto Figueroa, head of the nearby Neuquen observatory. He estimated the meteor measured about 12 meters in diameter before breaking into three fragments.

Fireball 2

Giant meteor fireball seen over Calabria, Sicily and Malta

File photo of meteor
A meteor passing over Calabria, Sicily and Malta in the Mediterranean was witnessed by skygazers yesterday at 11pm, as the celestial object ploughed through the summer night sky towards the southeast.

A full moon illuminated the field through which the 'white ball of fire', as some witnesses described it, tore across: the sighting comes ahead of the Delta Aquarids shower which Science Alert says will be most visible in the southern hemisphere.

While the peak for the shower will be on July 28 and 29, the display will continue until around August 23, overlapping with the Perseid shower, which occurs in mid-August.

Catching a glimpse of the Delta Aquarids will very much depend on your location, though the best time to watch the sky for these shooting stars will be around midnight.

Because meteors can be quite faint, it is best to look out for them in a dark sky, free of moonlight and artificial lights.


Bright meteor fireball filmed over Odessa, Ukraine

© Via YouTube/asteroid457
Bright fireball over Odessa, July 20, 2016 filmed by amateur astronomy club Odessa city, Ukraine.


Huge fireball seen across North Western Australia

© [email protected]
A fireball is caused by a large object entering Earth's atmosphere.
People across the Kimberley have reported seeing a bright fireball streak across the sky, inspiring awe and some fear.

"It was scary, because it came from the airport direction, and then we realised that it was probably space junk or a meteor," talkback caller Monica from Broome told ABC Radio.

"We spend a lot of nights with the kids lying out on trampolines watching shooting stars, but I've never seen anything like that."

The fireball was seen across a wide area of north western Australia just before 7pm on Tuesday.

Camped by the Fitzroy River, Cybil called ABC Radio to describe the awe-inspiring sight.

"Huge, big; it was the brightest thing I've ever seen. It was huge, white, massive. I've never seen anything so big in the sky," she said

About 130km south of Broome, Randal was camped on a cliff overlooking the ocean.

"It just seemed to come right up out of the sea, and then shot right across the Barn Hill camping area where we are," he said.

"My wife was sitting opposite me and she spun around, and we watched it disappear over inland somewhere.

"It was just so, so bright. We were wondering whether one of those missiles had come down from North Korea.

"We've seen shooting stars before, but this just outdid anything."

Fireball 2

Great ball of fire over New Zealand

© Otago Times
A fireball that lit up southern skies last night was not a meteor, but something much rarer, a leading astronomer says.

Minutes after the bright orange ball flashed across the sky about 6.30pm, hundreds of people from Dunedin to Nelson took to social media to report having seen it.

Former resident superintendent of Canterbury University's Mt John Observatory Alan Gilmore said the ball of fire had all of the characteristics of a re-entry of debris from a spacecraft, or piece of equipment which had been orbiting Earth.

"It is not a meteor, I'm certain of that. It took too long to go across the sky.''

Comment: Actually, electrically charged meteors CAN travel very slowly. AND, disintegration - shedding - is quite common.

Fireball 2

Bright meteor fireball streaks over Brazilian skies

© YouTube/Bramon - Brazilian Meteor Observation Network (screen capture)
Bolide - LCS1 stations Catalan / GO and MAD2 / DF - 07/12/2016 - 03:32:00 UTC

(translated by Google)

Comment: Other meteor fireballs observed over Brazil recently include:

14 June 2016: Meteor fireball filmed over the state of Sao Paulo, Brazil

12 June 2016: Bright meteor fireball streaks over Sao Paulo, Brazil

29 & 30 May 2016: Two meteor fireballs illuminate Brazilian skies on two subsequent nights

24 May 2016: Meteor fireball filmed over Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Fireball 2

Impressive meteor fireball filmed over Morocco on 8 July 2016

Fireball recorded on 8 July 2016 over the North of Africa, at 21:05:47 UT (23:05:47 local time) by the meteor-observing stations operating in Spain in the framework of the SMART Project.

The event was brighter than the full Moon and was produced by an alpha-Capricornid meteoroid.


NASA reports 1.2kt bolide meteor over Mauritania

© Michael Huniewicz
Mauritania night sky
NASA fireballs page has been updated with a bolide meteor with 1.2kt of Calculated Total Impact Energy. The bolide's position was given as 15.8N,11.9W.

The bolide was detected on Monday 27 June at 10:02UTC, possessed a velocity(x) of -29.1 km/s or 18.2 miles/sec (65,475 mph) and was reported at an altitude of 33km (20 miles).

Background Situation

New asteroid discoveries are currently in somewhat of a lull, with only 10 new discoveries in the <0.5AU range within the last 2 weeks (Period "M"). The numbers of new <0.5AU discoveries have been in decline since period "G" (Apr1-Apr15), with a similar trend for <5LD asteroids since period "E" (Mar1-Mar15).

2016 MA was the only <5LD asteroid discovered during period "M" and made its close-approach on June 19 at a distance of 2.6LD. New period "N" begins tomorrow (July 1).
So far, in 2016, there have been 29,849 new <0.5AU discoveries and 211 <10LD discoveries.

(Source for all stats: eissco.co.uk).

Fireball 2

Meteorites from fireball seen over Arizona located

© Arizona Department of Transportation
Pieces of a small asteroid that left a fiery trail in the sky over a big chunk of Arizona earlier this month have been found by researchers
Pieces of a small asteroid that left a fiery trail in the sky over a big chunk of Arizona earlier this month have been found by researchers, Arizona State University says.

A team of meteorite hunters recently located 15 meteorites on tribal lands after getting permission to search, ASU spokeswoman Beth Giudicessi said Wednesday.

Working in partnership with the White Mountain Apache Tribe, scholars spent more than 130 hours searching the White Mountains.

The findings offer a "piece of that giant puzzle about where did we come from," said ASU Center for Meteorite Studies curator Laurence Garvie.

Comment: See also: Huge fireball lights up night sky over Phoenix, Arizona - Residents stunned as meteor explodes, shaking homes


June 30, 1908: The Tunguska Event

"It was nothing of this earth, but a piece of the great outside; and as such dowered with outside properties and obedient to outside laws."
The Colour Out of Space, by H.P. Lovecraft (1927)
© Evgeny Krinov
Fig.1. The forest of Tunguska, photography taken by Evgeny Krinov in 1929.
In the morning of June, 30 1908 eyewitnesses reported a large fireball crossing the sky above the taiga of the Stony Tunguska (PodkamennayaTunguska) in Siberia. A series of explosions was heard even in the 1.200km distant village of Achajewskoje. Various meteorological stations in Europe recorded seismic and pressure waves and in the following days strange atmospheric phenomena were observed, silvery glowing clouds, colourful sunsets and strange luminescence in the night.

Russian newspapers reported about a meteorite impact based on the eyewitness accounts and the hypothesis of Dr. Arkady Voznesensky (1864-1936), director of the Meteorological Observatory at Irkutsk from 1895 to 1917. International newspapers speculated about a possible volcanic explosion, remembering the eruption of Krakatoa in 1883. However the inaccessibility of the region and the instable political situation in Russia prevented further research.

Thirteen years later the Russian mineralogist Leonid Alexejewitsch Kulik (1883-1942), reading some of the eyewitnesses' accounts about an explosion and a large glowing object, became interested in the phenomena - there was also the hope to recover precious extraterrestrial metals from the supposed meteorite.

Kulik travelled to the city of Kansk, where he discovered further reports in the local archives. Most stories refer to large fireballs, flames and a sequence of 14 thunders. March 1927 he arrived at the outpost of Wanawara -then, April 13, Kulik discovered a large area of 2.150 square km covered with rotting logs and almost no tree still standing - the strange "Forest of Tunguska".