Fire in the SkyS


UK: Meteor Fireball Spotted in Skies Over Britain

UK Fireball_081210
© Pete LawrenceMeteor showers, like this one over the UK in 2009, are eagerly sought out by stargazers.

Stargazers throughout the UK have reported seeing a meteor-like streak of light in the darkened skies.

The BBC was contacted by people in Scotland, the Midlands, Wales, and northern and south west England who saw the display at about 1740 GMT.

One witness driving home from work in Coventry said the light was a bit scary because it was so "incredibly bright".

Astronomers said the brightness of the meteor, a chunk of space rock burning up in the atmosphere, was unusual.

Dr David Whitehouse. astronomer and former BBC correspondent, said: "It's a bright meteor called a fireball, extraordinarily bright.

"This a chunk of space rock perhaps the size of your fist, perhaps a bit larger, that is burning up as it comes through our atmosphere at an altitude of 60 or 70 miles or so.


Atlanta, US: Mysterious fireball streaking across the sky leaves onlookers bewildered

© ajc.comUnexplained: A mysterious fireball streaked across the sky over Atlanta leaving onlookers bewildered
A mysterious fireball that lit up the sky over Atlanta has left onlookers bewildered as to what it could have been.

Charsign Raymond, 39, of Clarkston, was visiting a friend's home in Stone Mountain when his friend's wife saw the unidentified object streak across the sky.

'She ran in and said, "Look, you've all got to see this"', Mr Raymond recalled.

Mr Raymond managed to capture the double-barrelled ball of fire falling towards the ground on his camera.

© ajc.comWhat could it be? The double-barrelled ball of fire has not been explained by authorities
DeKalb County Police Department said they had no reports of fireballs hitting the county recently and have offered no explanations as to what it could be.

A neighbour who also witnessed the unexplained sighting said she thought it was a meteor about 10 times larger than any she'd ever seen before.

A second streak zoomed across the sky just seconds later.


The Rupununi Event

The Rupununi Event
© Cosmic TuskFire-in-jungle
I now move on to the suspected explosion over British Guyana in 1935. The main source for information on this event is a story entitled Tornado or Meteor Crash? in the magazine The Sky (the forerunner of Sky and Telescope) of September 1939(5). A report from Serge A. Korff of the Bartol Research Foundation, Franklin Institute (Delaware, USA) was printed, he having been in the area - the Rupununi region of British Guyana - a couple of months later. The date of the explosion appears to have been December 11, 1935, at about 21h local time. I might note that this is near the date of the peak of the Geminid meteor shower, but yet again this may be merely a coincidence. The location is given as being near Lat: 2 deg 10min North, Long: 59 deg 10 min West, close to Marudi Mountain.

Korff's description suggested that the region of devastation might be greater than that involved in the Tunguska event itself. On his suggestion, a message was sent to William H. Holden, who in 1937 was in the general region with the Terry-Holden expedition of the American Museum of Natural History. That group hiked to the top of Marudi Mountain in 1937 November and reported seeing an area some miles across where the trees had been broken off about 25 feet above their bases, although regrowth over two years in this tropical jungle had made it difficult to define the area affected. Holden confirmed, on returning to New York, that he believed the devastation was due to an atmospheric explosion of cosmic origin. An explorer and author, Desmond Holdridge, also visited the region in the late 1930โ€ฒs and confirmed the suspicion that a comet or asteroid detonation was responsible.


US: Mystery Object Streaks Across The Sky

Mystery Fireball
© Charsign Raymond

It was a bird. It was a plane. Or maybe there was just something wrong with the video camera.

You decide.

A DeKalb County man happened to have a camera rolling when what looks like a fireball floated in the sky overhead last week. Or maybe it was just an optical illusion created by a passing aircraft.

Charsign Raymond, of Clarkston, was visiting a friend's apartment just west of downtown Stone Mountain when his friend's wife happened to drive up.

"She ran in and said, 'Look, you've all got to see this," Raymond recalled.

Raymond, 39, had been playing with his video recorder, and he got out of the apartment in time to capture whatever it was in the sky.

It looks like a double-barreled ball of fire falling toward earth.

Raymond contacted the AJC last weekend with his find and later loaned a reporter his videotape so the AJC could publish it here.


How About This Theory: Villa Rica Bang Was a Meteor?

Was it a meteor?

How about two?

The mysterious big bang that has been the talk of Villa Rica and the surrounding three-county area since it occurred Friday night is still unexplained, though some think they know what it was and others say it wasn't the first unexplained sound in the area.

Some people have contacted the AJC saying they saw a large meteor around the same time as the noise, and others say a meteor can make a sonic boom if it gets close enough to the ground.

But if that's what made the loud sound heard in Carroll, Douglas and Haralson counties around 9:45 p.m., then what caused a similar noise two weeks earlier?

Several people have contacted the AJC to say that the recent explosion was preceded by a slightly quieter one on, or around, Nov. 13.


More Booms Reported Rattling Brunswick County

Brunswick County residents in Bolivia, Oak Island, Holden Beach and Southport areas reported a series of mysterious booms and rattles Wednesday morning.

No one seems to have any idea what could be causing the loud noises, but speculation has ranged from the continental shelf shifting and earthquakes to military exercises and Seneca Guns, the unexplained phenomenon that sounds like rolling thunder or distant cannon fire.


Giant Stealth Planet May Explain Rain of Comets from Solar System's Edge


Our sun may have a companion that disturbs comets from the edge of the solar system - a giant planet with up to four times the mass of Jupiter, researchers suggest.

A NASA space telescope launched last year may soon detect such a stealth companion to our sun, if it actually exists, in the distant icy realm of the comet-birthing Oort cloud, which surrounds our solar system with billions of icy objects.

The potential jumbo Jupiter would likely be a world so frigid it is difficult to spot, researchers said. It could be found up to 30,000 astronomical units from the sun. One AU is the distance between the Earth and the sun, about 93 million miles (150 million km).

Comment: See: Something Wicked This Way Comes


Meteor,space junk, jet, or ufo?

Lakeland, Florida - Several Polk County viewers called FOX 13 yesterday evening to report something in the sky.
© naA FOX 13 viewer sent this photo of the object in the sky over Polk County.

© naA FOX 13 viewer sent this photo of the object in the sky over Polk County.
The callers believed the object may have been a meteor or other object entering Earth's atmosphere.

Photos sent by one viewer showed the bright object with some sort of vapor or smoke trail behind it. They were taken at around 5:45 p.m.

It's not clear if the object was a passenger jet with its exhaust trail illuminated by the setting sun, or if it was a meteor or piece of space junk being burned up as it entered the atmosphere.

FOX 13 has been unable to reach any experts who could confirm either theory.

Two weeks ago, video taken by a news helicopter near Los Angeles created a buzz when it appeared to show a mystery missile being launched from the Pacific Ocean. The military later determined it was likely an aircraft's contrail being illuminated by the evening sun.


Mystery of Green Fireball 'UFOs' Solved?

© Courier Mail / Channel 9 TVGreen fireballs seen in the Australian sky were captured in photos, this one taken by a member of the public in Brisbane.
Green fireballs that streaked across the sky and rolled down an Australian mountainside four years ago, spurring reports of UFOs in the area, might have been meteors and ball lightning, a researcher suggests.

At least three traffic-light green fireballs brighter than the moon but not as bright as the sun blazed over northeast Australia on May 16, 2006. A farmer saw one with a blue tapering tail pass over the mountains of the Great Divide about 75 miles (120 kilometers) west of Brisbane, then watched a phosphorescent green ball about 12 inches wide (30 centimeters) roll slowly down the side of a mountain, bouncing over a rock along the way.

Green fireballs have been seen many times in the sky, and are typically explained as meteors whose shockwaves lead to electrically charged oxygen similar to that seen in auroras. In fact, a commercial airline pilot who landed in New Zealand that day reported seeing a meteor breaking up into fragments, which turned green as the bits descended in the direction of Australia. The timing of the fireballs suggests they might have been debris from Comet 73P/Schwassmann - Wachmann 3, said physicist Stephen Hughes at the Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane.

Comment: The reader may enjoy a more in-depth look at fireballs: Meteorites, Asteroids, and Comets: Damages, Disasters, Injuries, Deaths, and Very Close Calls


US: Mystery Sonic Boom Rattles Georgia

© Unknown
In the evening hours, residents of three Georgia counties, Carroll, Douglas, and Haralson, were settling down to a relaxing post-Thanksgiving Friday. Then, their night was shattered by a huge explosion. The noise is easily explained away, but the cause remains to be determined. When an airplane travels faster than the speed of sound, the resulting noise is a horrifying explosive thunder known as a sonic boom. Usually, the only airplanes breaking the sound barrier are military aircraft, but according to the FAA, there are no military flyover zones in the area of Georgia where the mysterious sonic boom was heard. Rural Georgia was rocked by a sonic boom that seems to have no cause.

Not only were there no military aircraft in the area, there were also no meteors spotted, according to amateur astronomer Michael Covington. There were no bright lights that would be associated with a meteor, no explosions, and no damage to anything in the area where the booming was heard.