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Mon, 30 Jan 2023
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Fire in the Sky


Comet's Heart May Have Struck Earth

© Unknown

Bright lights that suddenly streak across the night sky with an accompanying boom tend to elicit a flurry of phone calls to local police departments.

These rare events aren't typically wayward missiles, or satellite debris (as was thought when one such streak recently lit up the skies over Texas), or alien invasions. But they do come from outer space.

Scientists aptly call the objects fireballs because they are the brightest meteors, or "shooting stars," that fall to Earth.

A fireball as bright as the full moon raced across the Spanish skies on July 11, 2008, and was tracked by the Spanish Fireball Network (SPMN). Researchers used the tracking data to trace the path of the comet backwards through the sky and space; they think the boulder may be a chunk of a comet that broke up nearly 90 years ago. Their conclusions are detailed in the Feb. 11 online issue of the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.


Argentina: Another Fireball Over Patagonia

© INFOBAE.com/File photo
Witnesses to the phenomenon in Esquel and El Bolsón (Chubut Province) claim that the "night was completely lit" - it occurred last Saturday and research is ongoing to determine if it was a meteorite that entered the atmosphere and disintegrated, or if it was a UFO.

The strange "fireball" that crossed the skies over the Cordillera in Chubut between the towns of Esquel and El Bolsón is being investigated to see if it was an Unidentified Flying Object (UFO) or a meteorite that entered the atmosphere and burned up before striking the ground.


Asteroid 2008 TC3 Strikes Earth: Predictions and Observations Agree

A spectacular fireball lit up the predawn sky above Northern Sudan on October 7, 2008. This explosion was caused by the atmospheric entry of a small near-Earth asteroid, estimated to be no more than a few meters in diameter. The explosion likely scattered small meteorite fragments across the Nubian desert below. Although such small impact events occur several times per year around the globe, this case was unprecedented because the asteroid was actually discovered the day before it reached the Earth and the impact location and time were for the first time predicted in advance.

At 6:39 UT (UT = GMT) on the morning of October 6, 2008, Richard Kowalski, at the Catalina Sky Survey, discovered this small near-Earth asteroid using the Mt. Lemmon 1.5 meter aperture telescope near Tucson, Arizona. When the discovery observations were reported to the Minor Planet Center (MPC) in Cambridge Massachusetts, a preliminary orbit computation immediately indicated that the object was headed for an Earth impact within 21 hours. The MPC quickly made the discovery and subsequent "follow-up" observations available to the astronomical community and contacted the NASA/JPL Near-Earth Object Program Office. The MPC also notified NASA Headquarters of the impending impact so that subsequent US government interagency alerts and inter-governmental notifications could begin. By the time this object (now designated as 2008 TC3) entered the Earth's shadow 19 hours after discovery, some 570 astrometric (positional) measurements had been reported from 26 observatories around the world, both professional and amateur.


US: Things again going BOOM in the night in S. Minneapolis

The enduring mystery of the south Minneapolis explosions that are rattling both windows and neighbors' nerves has once again reared its head.

A new spate of nighttime blasts, roughly 100, have been going off since summer, something that has been occurring intermittently for nearly three years.

The last time police investigated the spate of explosions, in 2006 and 2007, they were finally able to determine the source: plain, old fireworks, most likely set off by teenagers.

This time, though, only about half can be explained away, said Lt. Dean Christiansen, who's coordinating the investigation in the Third Precinct.


Found: Pieces of space rock 2008 TC3 once seen heading for Earth

asteroid TC3 Sudan
© Mohamed Elhassan Abdelatif Mahir/Noub NGO/Muawia H Shaddad/U Khartoum/Peter Jenniskens/SETI Institute/NASA Ames)
The small asteroid 2008 TC3 broke up in the atmosphere above Sudan on 7 October and left behind this wind-blown trail high in the sky.

The discovery of meteorites from an asteroid that exploded over Sudan in October completes an astronomical trifecta. For the first time, scientists have detected a space rock ahead of a collision with Earth, watched it streak through the atmosphere, and then recovered pieces of it. Analysis of the meteorites could shed light on conditions in the early solar system more than 4 billion years ago.

When the asteroid, called 2008 TC3, was discovered on 6 October last year, it was just 20 hours away from hitting Earth. Though the warning period was short, it was the first time a space rock had been found before it impacted the planet.

Orbital calculations predicted the object would plunge into the atmosphere above Sudan at 0246 GMT on 7 October, and it arrived right on time. Observations suggested it was no more than 5 metres across, too small to survive intact all the way to the ground and cause damage.


US: Fireball Lights Up Hawaii Sky and Causes Jaws to Drop

Flashy, colorful fireball awes sky-gazers.

"Look out!" shouted Gregory McCartney, who runs astronomy education programs at Ko Olina, as a fireball flew overhead. He thought his group of 18 was about to be hit, but the mysterious object suddenly disappeared.

Another isle resident who saw the green fireball in the sky the night of Feb. 9 "thought the world was coming to an end." Joanna Spofford, walking with her 3-year-old daughter in Kalama Valley, said, "It was the scariest thing in the world." Astronomers said the celestial apparition could have been a new meteor, possibly from "a clump of cometary material that hadn't dispersed enough to become an annual shower."

One thing it was not: debris from the collision of U.S. and Russian satellites. That collision did not happen until the next day.


Meteors Light Up Kentucky's Skies

Astronomers say bright lights in the sky and noises like thunder observed over much of Kentucky were meteors.

The Lexington Herald-Leader reported that after the reports came in from people in Kentucky and Texas late Friday, the Federal Aviation Administration cautioned pilots to beware of satellite debris, but the advisory was quickly withdrawn.


England: Fireball over Reading, Berkshire

Witness statement - MUFON report: I was travelling down the Birfield Road, Soutcote in Reading on 15th February 2009 at exactly 7pm. When me and my mother saw a strange object in the sky. It was moving in very fast circular movements and hovered up and down whilst moving straight across the sky.


US: Fireball spotted streaking across sky in Summerville, South Carolina

Summerville fireball
© Afton Dewland
A You on 2 report from Summerville shows a scene similar to one that played out in Texas over the weekend. A bright orange fireball streaking across the sky.

There were original reports that debris from the collision of U.S. and Russian satellites were the culprit...but those reports have since been refuted.

Afton Dewland sent this email along with the picture:

Comment: Here's info on the Texas fireball in case you missed it.


Argentina: More Fireballs Reported

Just as television viewers everywhere marvel about the daylight meteor/fireball/unknown object videotaped over Texas, Inexplicata has received an e-mail posting from Jorge Luis Figueras, photographic analyst with the Fundacion Argentina de Ovnilogia (FAO):

"[The incidents] occurred on Saturday, and regional members of the FAO are involved in researching it. At this time, eyewitness accounts span locations as distant as Casa de Piedra in the south of La Pampa, Viedma in eastern Rio Negro, Sierra Grande and Ramos Mexia, Cutral Co, Bariloche on the western end of the province, Neuquén proper, Zapala, Las Lajas and Chos Malal -- that is to say, two entire provinces 600 kilometers from north to south and some 500 from east to west. There is a strong likelihood that it was also seen in Chile.