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Thu, 12 Dec 2019
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Fireballs

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.


Fireball 3

Bright nighttime flash seen over the Big Island, Hawaii last week was a meteor

Meteor over HI
© ATLAS
A bright flash that illuminated the sky the night of July 24 was caused by a rock, estimated to be between the size of a softball and basketball, entering the Earth's atmosphere.

The University of Hawaii's Asteroid Terrestrial-impact Last Alert System program on Mauna Loa caught an image of the meteor that briefly lit the sky brighter than a full moon.

According to a UH news release, the ATLAS program, located at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration facility on Mauna Loa, searches for hazardous asteroids, and its all-sky weather-monitoring camera captured an image of the meteor during routine monitoring of the night sky.

"They are scientifically interesting and visually spectacular but pose no threat whatsoever," said ATLAS principal investigator Larry Denneau. "These occur over Hawaii Island maybe once every few months, and around the world there are dozens per night."


Comment: The statement that these meteors 'pose no threat whatsoever' isn't entirely true. See:

Meteor

Seven asteroids are headed for Earth this August

Image of two different asteroids captured by NASA
© NASA/JPL/JHUAPL
Image of two different asteroids captured by NASA.
NASA has detected a total of seven asteroids headed for Earth in August. According to the agency's Center for Near Earth Object Studies (CNEOS), the biggest asteroid from the group is five times taller than the Statue of Liberty.

The first asteroid that will approach Earth is called 2019 ON. CNEOS noted that the space rock is about 180 feet long and is traveling at a speed of 10,400 miles per hour. It is expected to approach Earth on Aug. 1 at 11:23 am ST. During its approach, it will zip past Earth from a distance of 0.01729 astronomical units or roughly 1.6 million miles away.

Trailing behind 2019 ON is asteroid 2006 QQ23. According to CNEOS' data, this is the biggest asteroid that will approach Earth next month. It has an estimated diameter of 1,870 feet and has a velocity of 10,400 miles per hour.

CNEOS estimated that 2006 QQ23 will fly past Earth on Aug. 10 at 7:23 am ST. It is expected to be about 0.04977 astronomical units or around 4.6 million miles away from the planet during its flyby.

The third asteroid that will visit Earth in August is 454094 2013 BZ45. This asteroid is about 820 feet long and is traveling at 18,250 miles per hour. It will enter Earth's neighborhood on Aug. 12 at 12:14 am ST. Its closest distance to Earth during its visit is expected to be at 0.04352 astronomical units or around 4 million miles away.

Comment: A few years ago NASA created a 'Planetary Defense Coordination Office' with a view to track meteors headed toward Earth, and "redirect" potentially dangerous asteroids as part of a long-term planetary defense goal.

However, asteroid 'redirection' or 'deflection' remains just theoretical. A more accurate way of looking at it is that NASA is funding deflection and redirection of the topic of space threats by 'getting the message out' that 'everything is just fine'.

See also: Expecting an asteroid? Proposed budget for NASA's Planetary Defense Coordination Office suddenly increased three-fold

As Fireball Numbers Increase it is well worth remembering what can come out of the sky, without any warning at all:




Fireball 4

'I thought it was Armageddon' - Perth residents stunned by early morning meteor fireball

Early risers around the Perth metropolitan area were stunned by a bright green light filling the night sky on Wednesday morning, but what looked like Armageddon was most likely a meteor, according to a Perth Observatory staffer.
Meteor Fireball
© Brisbane Times
Just before 6am 6PR News director Lisa Barnes was out for her morning run near Ellenbrook when she saw the phenomenon light up the sky.

"It was so amazing to see, it lit up the whole sky, a quick flash of light and then it drew my eyes to where I was heading (...) and then it was like a ball of light and I watched it fall."

Mrs Barnes said it was much bigger and brighter than a shooting star.

Comet 2

Impact hazard from disintegrating comets

Comet 73P
© NASA/JPL-Caltech/W.Reach [SSC/Caltech]
Last month, Bill Napier (co-creator of the coherent catastrophism theory, with Victor Clube) published his latest paper (MNRAS, vol. 488, p 1822-1827) on the impact hazard from disintegrating comets in the inner solar system. His focus is on a large 100 km comet in an Encke-like orbit. It is a sophisticated work that extends his earlier estimates, this time by combining explicit orbital simulations with a calibrated model of comet fragmentation (published by de Sisto et al. in 2009).

His aim, like mine in Prehistory Decoded, is to estimate the hazard to Earth from the kind of comet thought to have become trapped in our inner system a few tens of thousands of years ago. We know, pretty much, that this happened because of the massive zodiacal dust cloud and correlated fragments that remain in orbit.

He concludes that we can expect one or two impact collisions over the last 20,000 years, or so, with energy over 6000 Mt, and that this energy will likely be unevenly distributed across a hemispherical region. This is roughly 600 times the energy of the Tunguska impact, which itself was large enough to demolish one of our biggest modern-day cities (like Greater London).

This broadly supports my own estimates in Prehistory Decoded, based on simple fragmentation pathways and Opik's collision formula, where I find that we can expect one or two collisions with an energy of at least 10,000 Mt, and perhaps another ten with energy over 1,000 Mt, from the same sized comet over the same timescale. Great!