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Tue, 18 Dec 2018
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Fire in the Sky

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Geminid fireball filmed buzzing comet Wirtanen

comet wirtanen fireball
© Joe Lawton
The radiant of the Geminid meteor shower is not very far from approaching Comet 46P/Wirtanen. Their respective constellations, Gemini and Taurus, are next door neighbors. That means comet photographers can expect to catch some Geminids in their exposures. Indeed, that's exactly what happened to Joe Lawton of Gerald, Missouri, on Dec. 9th. "As I was photographing 46P/Wirtanen, a Geminid meteor blazed across the sky and disintegrated next to the comet!"

"I combined a series of still images to create this video," he explains. "You can see smokey debris from the Geminid meteoroid twisting in the winds of the upper atmosphere and ultimately dissipating."

How often is this happening? Just last night Harlan Thomas of Powderface Trail, Alberta, and Dr. Paolo Candy of the Cimini Astronomical Observatory in Italy also caught Geminids streaking past the comet.

Comment: With the arrival of the Geminids, and even a week or so before, fireball sightings, have risen rather dramatically:

Fireball 2

Back-to-back meteor fireballs fly through Washington's sky

Washington meteor
© American Meteor Society, adapted by CWG
Heat map showing where eyewitnesses spotted the first of two fireballs Monday evening, as well as the estimated path of this fireball.
If you looked up at the right times Monday evening, you may have seen something out of this world. Not one, but two, bright fireballs lit up the skies Monday evening, widely visible from D.C. to New York.

The first occurred about 4:56 p.m., 10 minutes after sunset in Washington. It illuminated the twilight eastern horizon, burning vibrant shades of green, blue and white as it exploded in our atmosphere. It lasted about five to seven seconds as it fell, fragmenting into a number of smaller shards like a doomed firework.

The fireball "looked like an airplane going super fast but then disappeared about as quickly as I saw it," commented Samantha Tungul, a Capital Weather Gang Facebook follower who witnessed the event in Prince William County.

Other eyewitnesses described it as "like a stray firework," "green and slow moving," and "an incredibly bright blue white streaking ball."

Comment: Meteor fireball events have been increasing in recent years. See also: Michigan Meteor Event: Fireball Numbers Increased Again in 2017

The American Meteor Society (AMS) received 49 reports about a meteor fireball seen over Texas on Tuesday, December 11th 2018 around 01:59 UT.

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Bright meteor fireball over Granada, Spain on Dec.10

Fireball - stock image

Fireball - stock image
The meteor on this video was recorded over Granada and Almería (Spain) on 2018 Dec. 10 at 3:51 local time (2:51 universal time).

It was generated by a rock from an asteroid that hit the atmosphere at about 86,000 km/h.

It began over Granada at an altitude of about 94 km and ended over the province of Almería at a height of around 35 km.

The event was recorded in the framework of the SMART project (University of Huelva) from the meteor-observing stations located at La Hita (Toledo), Calar Alto (Almeria), La Sagra (Granada), Sierra Nevada (Granada) and Sevilla.

Comment: This is the fifth fireball seen over the region this December, see also:

Three bright meteor fireballs recorded over Spain in five hours

Bright and slow meteor fireball filmed over Spain on Dec. 2

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Spectacular meteor fireball event over Mexico City

Bright meteor fireball disintegrates over Mexico City on December 8, 2018
© Youtube
Bright meteor fireball streaks over Mexico City on December 8, 2018.
A bright meteor fireball streaked across the sky on December 8, 2018 above Mexico City reports WTHR. It lit up the sky in the Mexican capital in the early hours of the morning.

An amateur photographer caught it on camera before it disappeared behind some trees. The photographer, Jorge Diaz Henry, shot the video on his digital camera and shared it on social media.

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Meteor fireball filmed disintegrating over Fullerton, California

Fireball over Fullerton, CA
© YouTube/DAHBOO77
On November 30, 2018, YouTuber 'DAHBOO77' uploaded footage sent to him by viewer in Fullerton, California showing a fireball streaking across the sky and disintegrating:

The video was reportedly recorded the night before, though we were unable to confirm the event with the American Meteorological Society. Fireball sightings were reported the day before and the day after in Winterhaven and Pasadena.


Meteorite may have fallen in Wyoming last week

Meteor fireball (stock image)
© Ikonacolor, Getty Images (stock image)
A meteorite may have fallen near the Wind River Reservation last weekend. Around 5:30 a.m. on December 1st, several Riverton residents saw a fireball streak across the sky, then heard a loud, window-rattling crash two to three minutes later.

One eyewitness reported his observations to the American Meteor Society, describing a bright white object on the horizon, descending from right to left at 5:33 a.m, followed by the sound of "large thundering" around 5:36 a.m. County 10 documented a series of sightings from shocked citizens on social media. Similar sightings were also reported in the towns of Ethete and Ft. Washakie and the boom was heard 80 miles north in Dubois, according to Buckrail.

It's not the first time a suspected meteorite has been seen in the area. In 2015, several witnesses reported a "green" fireball flying over Riverton. Cody astronomer Dewey Vanderhoff also documented a bolide meteor later that year.