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Thunderous mystery boom rattles central Maryland

Mystery boom in MD
© Screenshot via Nest Cam
Dozens of ear-witnesses in College Park, Greenbelt and Berwyn Heights, including this journalist, reported hearing a loud, explosion-like boom in the early-morning hours of Sunday, Aug. 18, 2019. The noise rattled residents, who took to social media to report their experiences. As of Sunday evening, no definitive cause for the noise has been disclosed by local officials.

This journalist was drinking on his balcony near the intersection of 49th Avenue and Tecumseh Road in College Park when he heard the mystery boom at around 1:45 a.m. Aug. 19. The sound appeared to emanate from the south, in the direction of the University of Maryland campus and College Park's Route 1 corridor. The sound was not accompanied by a flash of light, such as from lightning.

Shortly afterwards, other residents took to social media to describe the sound. One Berwyn Heights resident uploaded a security camera video recording of the boom. In the video, a, sudden, loud, thunderous report is heard, followed shortly afterwards by smaller percussive reports and rolling echos. [The boom can be heard starting at 0:19]


Comment: According to Meteorites Australia, sounds associated with a falling meteor include a "thunderous" noise.
Sounds Associated with Witnessed Meteorite Falls

Occasionally when a meteorite is witnessed to find its way to Earth, it will present a very impressive visual show as it burns through the atmosphere. Even less common though, are the occasions when witnesses are able to actually hear audible sounds associated with the falling meteor. These have been described in many various ways such as: whistling, popping, booming, thunderous, whizzing, whirling, whirring, crackling, drumming, rumbling, humming, roaring and more.



Fireball

Bright meteor fireball reported over north Alabama

Fireball over N Alabama
© Jason Carnegie
Jason Carnegie submitted this photo from Moores Mill in Huntsville, Alabama at 9:40 pm Sunday.
Did you notice a bright flash of light around 9:30pm Sunday night? If so, you may have spotted a fireball!

The American Meteor Society notes that more than 60 eyewitnesses reported the fireball in numerous states, including Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, and Alabama. Eyewitnesses report the fireball was visible for roughly 1.5 - 3.5 seconds.

Additional information and reports are forthcoming regarding Sunday night's fireball. However, many across the Tennessee Valley spotted the bright feature in the sky.

The American Meteor Society defines a fireball as a meteor that shines brighter than the planet Venus.

Meteor

It's called Apophis. It's 390m wide. And it could hit Earth in 31 years time

apophis asteroid
In Egyptian myth, Apophis was the ancient spirit of evil and destruction, a demon that was determined to plunge the world into eternal darkness.

A fitting name, astronomers reasoned, for a menace now hurtling towards Earth from outerspace. Scientists are monitoring the progress of a 390-metre wide asteroid discovered last year that is potentially on a collision course with the planet, and are imploring governments to decide on a strategy for dealing with it.

Nasa has estimated that an impact from Apophis, which has an outside chance of hitting the Earth in 2036, would release more than 100,000 times the energy released in the nuclear blast over Hiroshima. Thousands of square kilometres would be directly affected by the blast but the whole of the Earth would see the effects of the dust released into the atmosphere.

Comment: 15 years later, they're still reporting about Apophis as if it's breaking news.

As we said at the time...

sott.net meteor fireballs



Fireball 2

Bright meteor fireball seen from across western Mediterranean

httExtremely bright meteor

Extremely bright meteor fireball
A very bright meteor appeared in the skies over the western-central Mediterranean yesterday evening, August 16th at around 22:43 CEST. Videos indicate a very significant event.

The fireball was likely significantly brighter than the full Moon, indicating a sizeable incoming meteoroid. It was a long-duration event, lasting over 4 seconds. The meteor reached peak brightness in a series of bright flares, which appear to have resulted in fragmentation of the meteoroid - several fragments are visible towards the end of the luminous path. It appears likely that the incoming meteoroid was comparatively slow and that the event may have resulted in a meteorite fall - into the Mediterranean sea.

Fireball 4

Back in 1944, large daytime meteor turned many heads in eastern Midwest US

Daytime meteor - stock
© ABC News
Stock photo
A visitor from outer space streaked across the sky the morning of Aug. 18, 1944, leading some to fear the Tri-State was being bombarded by rockets from Nazi Germany.

That was just one of the outlandish theories people expressed about the meteor. Some apparently were hesitant to mention what they had seen because they didn't want to spread fear or be ridiculed.

The only Henderson County resident who came forward to The Gleaner the day the meteor fell was Hilary Baskett, who had gone to check his farm on the road to Spottsville. He was not fooled; he was pretty sure it was probably a meteor. But he was "particularly anxious" that others confirm what he had seen.

"To make it doubly interesting the celestial fireworks took place in broad daylight" about 8:15 a.m., The Gleaner reported Aug. 19. "He reported it to be a long, greenish, comet-like blaze which suddenly burst into nothingness as it seemed to near the ground."

Fireball 2

Meteor lights up sky, shakes homes in southwest Missouri

Daytime meteor - stock image
© meteoriteclub.com
Ryan Johnson was heading home to Carthage Sunday afternoon when he saw something in the sky that took his breath away.

"We were heading east near Fredonia (Kansas) when a meteor fell straight down," Johnson recalled. "It looked like a big shooting star. It was long, but it was quick. Wow. I've never seen one in the daylight."

He said the meteor left a brief smoke trail but didn't appear to hit the ground.

"It was fast enough that me and my wife saw it, but our son, who was also sitting in the front seat didn't. It was pretty neat!"

The meteor created a massive shock wave and thunderous boom as it streaked above southwest Missouri. The American Meteor Society received 16 reports of a fireball seen from points in southwest Missouri, northwest Arkansas, southeast Kansas and northwest Arkansas, all just moments after 5 p.m. Sunday.


Fireball 5

Perseids meteor shower to peak Monday night with stunning FIREBALL displays

Perseids meteor shower
© NASA/Ron Garan (@Astro_Ron)
Perseid meteor shower as seen from the International Space Station
It's that time of year again, when the spectacular Perseid meteor shower rains fire across the night sky. The days-long fireball fiesta is expected to peak this evening with an estimated 80 shooting stars per hour at its height.

Widely seen as one of the most entertaining celestial events of the year, the Perseids meteor shower is caused by meteoroids from the debris trail of the Comet 109P/Swift-Tuttle which orbits the sun once every 133 years.

Those in the Northern Hemisphere will be treated to the best views, provided they can escape the light pollution from towns and cities. The moon will frustrate proceedings somewhat as a full moon is due on Thursday, meaning the sky will likely be washed out for the majority of viewers, but fear not, as the Perseids have an ace up their sleeve.

Instead of shooting stars, stargazers can hunt for bright 'fireballs' which can last up to a second rather than merely fractions of a second like their shooting star brethren.

"...[T]he Perseids are rich in bright meteors and fireballs, so it will still be worth going out in the early morning to catch some of nature's fireworks," NASA says.

Fireball 5

Flash of light seen in sky above southwest Victoria, Australia was meteor falling to earth

Fireball over SW Victoria, AUS
© The Standard/Tracey Reid
A meteorite which was seen in the skies above the south-west last night was spotted from as far away as Hamilton and Portland.

Security camera footage of the bright light falling to earth was captured by Tracey Reid's home CCTV in Horsham at 8.27pm, but it was seen and heard by people in Hamilton and Portland.

Astronomical Society of Victoria president Russ Cockman said it was "definitely a fireball meteor" based on its peak brightness and then the way it faded.

"Sometimes small pieces survive passage through the atmosphere and land, to be found by meteorite hunters," Mr Cockman said.


Fireball 2

Meteor fireball seen by several Southeast US coastal residents

Fireball over SE US
© Screenshot via YouTube/ AMS American Meteor Society
On July 27, 2019, the American Meteor Society received 24 reports of a meteor over Georgia, Maryland, North and South Carolina and Virginia. Jeff H. recorded footage of the fireball on his doorbell camera:


Fireball

Bright meteor fireball lights up night sky in Almeria, Spain

Fireball over Almeria, Spain
© Screenshot via YouTube/Meteors
A ball of fire created by a rock from an asteroid lit up the sky over Almeria when it entered the atmosphere at a speed of some 72,000 kilometres per hours over the Mediterranean in front of the provincial coastline.

It was so bright it could be seen up to 400 kilometres away.

The stunning phenomenon just after 4am on Thursday morning was recorded on external cameras in the framework of the SMART project, operated by the Southwestern Europe Meteor Network (SWEMN), from meteor-observing stations at the Calar Alto Observatory in the Filabres mountains, as well as in Sierra Nevada and Seville.