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Tue, 28 Sep 2021
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Fireball 4

Large meteor fireball visible for 27 seconds over Puerto Rico

A large meteor was visible at 4.55 local time this Friday from almost all of Puerto Rico as reported by the Caribbean Astronomy Society (SAC).

"Although most meteors are only visible for a few seconds, this event was significant since images that we managed to capture show that it was visible for 27 seconds, that is almost half a minute," said Eddie Irizarry, vice president of the SAC.

"It looked bigger and bigger, it didn't look like a common meteor," said Idaly Correa, who witnessed the spectacular sighting from the municipality of Guayanilla.

The SAC director clarified that despite the long duration of the meteor, it was not space debris, but a natural meteor, that is, a space rock disintegrating through the atmosphere.


Meteor fireball explodes in the sky over Brazil

Live Climate Cameras and Bramon recorded a meteor in Minas Gerais, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Bahia and Distrito Federal in the early hours of this Thursday (15).

(Translated by Google)


Meteor fireball spotted in Minas Gerais and Goiás, Brazil

Live Weather Cameras recorded a meteor in Minas Gerais and Goiás at dawn this Monday (12).

Fireball 3

Meteor fireball explodes over Taiwan

© East Coast National Scenic Area Administration
Dozens of spectacular videos surfaced on social media Wednesday (July 7) after a meteor blasted through the atmosphere over Taiwan.

Shortly after 12:02 a.m. on Wednesday, the Lulin Observatory, located at the summit of Lulin Mountain in Nantou County's Xinyi Township, recorded a meteor erupting into a ball of fire as it burst through the atmosphere. Within a span of 50 seconds, the meteor could be seen streaking across the sky as it ignited into a series of explosions.

It flashed four times during its descent, with each ignition causing the fireball to grow bigger and brighter. After the fourth explosion, the extraterrestrial orb went dark and disappeared below the horizon.

Soon, residents of Taipei as well as Yilan, Hualien, and Taitung counties posted videos of the unusual atmospheric phenomenon. Some people reported hearing a sonic boom following each flash of light.

Fireball 2

Two bright meteor fireballs blaze over Idaho within hours of each other

Idaho meteor fireball
© YouTube/AMS (screen capture)
The American Meteor Society (AMS) received 31 reports about a meteor fireball (event 3638-2021) seen over ID, MT, OR, UT, WA and WY on Sunday, July 4th 2021 around 04:45 UT.

This video was uploaded to the AMS website.

Credit: Korri Anderson.

Fireball 4

Meteor fireball over central Spain on July 2nd

On 2 July 2021, at about 23:49h local time, a slow-moving fireball was spotted over the center of Spain. This bolide was generated by a rock from a comet that hit the atmosphere at about 72,000 km / h. The fireball overflew the province of Cuenca (region of Castilla-La Mancha).

It began over that province at an altitude of about 91 km, and ended at a height of around 41 km. This bright meteor was recorded in the framework of the SMART project, operated by the Southwestern Europe Meteor Network (SWEMN), from the meteor-observing stations located at Sevilla, La Hita (Toledo), La Sagra (Granada), Calar Alto (Almería) ), Cerro Negro (Seville), Sierra Nevada (Granada), and Madrid (Jaime Izquierdo, Complutense University of Madrid).

The event has been analyzed by the principal investigator of the SMART project: Dr. Jose M. Madiedo, from the Institute of Astrophysics of Andalusia (IAA-CSIC).

Comet 2

Update on giant oort cloud comet C/2014 UN271 (Bernardinelli-Bernstein)

Comet C/2014 UN271 Bernardinelli-Bernstein oort cloud

The comet is now known as Comet C/2014 UN271, or Bernardinelli-Bernstein after its discoverers, University of Pennsylvania graduate student Pedro Bernardinelli and astronomer Gary Bernstein.
In 2021 June 19, the circular MPEC 2021-M53 of Minor Planet Center announced the discovery of an asteroidal object by astronomers P. Bernardinelli & G. Bernstein (University of Pennsylvania) that they found in CCD exposures obtained with the 4.0-m reflector at Cerro Tololo Interamerican Observatory in the course of the "Dark Energy Survey", and which they reported as a previously unknown member of the Oort Cloud. The reported astrometry was spanning from 2014 Oct. 20 to 2018 Nov. 8. The new object was designated 2014 UN271. It was hidden among data collected by the 570-megapixel Dark Energy Camera (DECam) mounted on the Víctor M. Blanco 4-meter Telescope at Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (CTIO) in Chile and was announced only now because, in the words of one of the discoverers, "finding TNOs with DES is a massive computational problem (my PhD was solving this problem). The search itself took 15~20 million CPU-hours, and the catalog production from our 80,000 exposures probably took more than that!"

According to the orbit calculated using data from 2014 to 2018, this object is likely to be a comet from the outer edge of the Oort Cloud. But 2014 UN271, despite its typically cometary orbit, appeared completely stellar in these archival images when it moved from 29 to 23 AU (for comparison, Pluto is 39 au from the Sun, on average). Below a simulation (made by T. Dunn) of the orbit of comet C/2014 UN271 showing it path in the Solar System from 1985 to 2049.

A few days after the discovery announcement, 2014 UN271 has been found to show cometary appearance in new CCD images obtained by observers at station codes L81 & K93.Basically this object, that was first seen as an asteroid of magnitude ~22 by DES in 2014 at a distance of 29 AU, approaching the Sun was growing his coma and tails. As of June 2021, it was 20 AU from the Sun shining at a magnitude ~20.After the discovery of the cometary coma, the new comet has been designated C/2014 UN271 (Bernardinelli-Bernstein). This comet will reach perihelion, its closest point to the Sun, in January 2031 at about ~11 AU away from the Sun.

Fireball 5

Bright meteor fireball captured over Switzerland

AMS event 3552-2021
© AMS observers map - event 3552-2021 (screen capture)
The American Meteor Society (AMS) received 20 reports (event 3552-2021) about a meteor fireball seen over Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, Emilia-Romagna, Ljubljana, Lombardia, Marche, Piemonte, Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, Schwyz, Ticino, Toscana, Trentino-Alto Adige, Veneto and Wallis on Sunday, June 27th 2021 around 21:01 UT.

Two videos were uploaded to the AMS website.

Credit: AllSky7.net - AMS73 Monteggio - Stefano Klett

Fireball 4

Loud bang heard, green light seen in northern Thailand could be a bolide

Meteor over Thailand
© Alisa Seya
The mysterious explosive sound and turquoise glow seen and photographed in northern Thailand on Tuesday evening could be a bolide, a kind of very bright meteor, said the National Astronomical Research Institute of Thailand (NARIT).

The loud bang was heard in Chiang Mai, Lamphun, Phayao, Mae Hong Son and Lampang provinces, while several netizens posted images of the light moving from west to east last night.

No damage or injuries have been reported, according to the Thai authorities.

A meteor that enters Earth's atmosphere normally catches fire at an altitude of 80-120 kilometres and occasionally causes a sonic boom, in the same way a supersonic plane does. This would explain why the light was seen before a loud bang was heard.

It remains unclear if the object was a meteorite and most meteors burn up in the atmosphere before striking the ground. There are around 6,000 meteorites entering Earth's atmosphere each year, with most falling into the oceans or remote areas, according to NARIT's director of astronomical academic services department Suparerk Karuehanon, adding that they are a common occurrence and there is no need for panic.

Comet 2

Comet strike 13,000-years-ago may have sparked civilisation shift

A cluster of comet fragments believed to have hit Earth nearly 13,000 years ago may have shaped the origins of human civilisation, research suggests.
Archaeological site in Arizona, US,
© Comet Research Group
Archaeological site in Arizona, US, with a distinctive black layer, indicating substantial environmental changes beginning about 10,800 BC, with impact debris at its base.
Possibly the most devastating cosmic impact since the extinction of the dinosaurs, it appears to coincide with major shifts in how human societies organised themselves, researchers say.

Their analysis backs up claims that an impact occurred prior to start of the Neolithic period in the so-called Fertile Crescent of southwest Asia.

During that time, humans in the region - which spans parts of modern-day countries such as Egypt, Iraq and Lebanon - switched from hunter-gatherer lifestyles to ones centred on agriculture and the creation of permanent settlements.

Catastrophic event

It is thought that the comet strike - known as the Younger Dryas impact - also wiped out many large animal species and ushered in a mini ice age that lasted more than 1,000 years.

Since it was proposed in 2007, the theory about the catastrophic comet strike has been the subject of heated debate and much academic research.

Now, researchers from the University of Edinburgh have reviewed evidence assessing the likelihood that an impact took place, and how the event may have unfolded.