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Fireball 5

Probable comet fragment or meteor burns bright across Australian sky

© Willem Bruinsma
Willem Bruinsma snapped this burning light in the sky at Noosa National Park.
Experts believe a mysterious bright light in the sky north of Noosa was probably caused by the sun's light on a jet's contrail.

The phenomenon appeared to be soaring across the sky for at least 20 minutes, just after sunset on Sunday.

Owen Bennedick, of Wappa Falls Observatory, said it was likely to be an atmospheric event, as a meteor usually lasted a maximum five seconds.

He added that the presence of any comets at the time would have been well documented.

Owen Bennedick, of Wappa Falls Observatory, said it was likely to be an atmospheric event, as a meteor usually lasted a maximum five seconds.
Presumably they meant to write 'unlikely'. Mr Bennedick ought to study the behaviour of fireballs and meteors - they can remain visible in the sky for hours.
He added that the presence of any comets at the time would have been well documented.
Comets, fireballs, and meteors, far from being 'well-documented', are largely ignored.

Fireball 3

Reports of bright 'fireball' in sky over Tennessee, Alabama

There were reports of a bright fireball late on Sunday night and Monday in Tennessee, Alabama, and Mississippi. A number of unconfirmed reports were posted on the American Meteor Society website.

"This was so very exciting for me. The colors were beautiful," wrote one user, Liz W., from Nashville, Tenn.

Another person from Oakland, Tenn., wrote that the fireball was "low moving, passed behind cloud bank and glow could be seen through clouds."

"The fire trail was a slender taper going from origin to point within the spacing of nine of the original diameter ... the [colors] were sharp:white core, moss green outside it, traces of blue.," wrote another.

"It almost looked like this fireball was going to make impact," another wrote.

The fireball sighting coincide with the Perseid meteor shower, which starts in mid-July to late August each year. It is unclear if the "fireballs" that people saw in the southeastern U.S. had to do with the Perseids.

"It was larger than any meteor I have ever seen," wrote one person.

On Twitter, at least one person said they heard a "loud boom."

"Widespread reports tonight of bright fireball in the sky over TN, AL some hearing loud boom," wrote NewsBreaker.

Fireball 2

Meteor streaks across the sky over Northeastern Pennsylvania

La Plume - A fireball seen streaking over Northeastern Pennsylvania early Friday was a meteor, according John Sabia, an assistant at Keystone College's Thomas G. Cupillari Observatory.

The meteor, which was seen Friday about 12:52 a.m., was photographed by an observatory sky camera traveling across the night sky for 17 seconds.

He described the meteor as slow moving and one of the brightest the camera has photographed.

Fireball 2

Russian meteor may have gangmates in tow

Russian Meteor
The Chelyabinsk meteor caused a fireball in the sky over Russia in February.

The house-sized rock that exploded spectacularly in the skies near Chelyabinsk, Russia, in February may have been a member of a gang of asteroids that still poses a threat to Earth, a new study says. The evidence is circumstantial, but future observations could help to settle the question.

On 15 February, an 11,000-tonne space rock slammed into the atmosphere above Russia, producing the most powerful impact since the Tunguska explosion in 1908 - which may also have been caused by an asteroid - and generating a shock wave that damaged buildings and injured more than 1,000 people. The 18-metre-wide object could not be seen as it approached the planet because it was obscured by the Sun's glare, but observations made while it was in the atmosphere have enabled several groups of researchers to estimate its orbit2.

However, the estimates varied so much that there was no clear orbit that researchers could use to hunt for sibling asteroids on a similar path, say Carlos and Raúl de la Fuente Marcos, orbital dynamicist brothers at the Complutense University of Madrid.

They decided to tackle the problem with brute computational force, running simulations of billions of possible orbits to find the ones most likely to have led to a collision. They then used the average of the ten best orbits to search a NASA asteroid catalogue for known objects on similar paths. They found about 20, ranging in size from 5 to 200 metres across, they report in an article to be published in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society: Letters1.

Fireball 5

Meteorite hits village in NW China

Meteorite Impact
© Weibo
This photo taken on August 1, 2013, shows the dump site which was hit by a meteorite in a village of Akto County of northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.
A meteorite hit a village in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region on Thursday, CCTV.com reports.

The meteorite crashed at a dump site in a village of Xinjing's Akto County around 2:00 a.m. Thursday and punched a 3-meter wide, 2-meter deep hole in the ground.

Local authorities say no casualties have been reported and investigation and research work on the meteorite fragments is ongoing.


Comet seen from Honduras to Cayman Islands and Jamaica, 29 July 2013: Fragments into stream of 'intense' exploding fireballs

A meteorite passed over Cayman's skies Monday night, causing a little alarm and a lot of excitement.

Chris Cook, president of the Astronomical Society, explained that sighting the object, that moved slowly across the sky in a shower of light around 10pm, was unusual, but nothing to be alarmed about.

Comment: Nothing to see here folks, it's just a fragment from some larger body that is apparently on its way to smash up a chemical plant in Florida...

Explosions rock Florida gas plant, force evacuations

"It was a very small asteroid, a fireball travelling from Honduras, across Cayman to Jamaica, a meteor that broke up. It's not unusual for these things to happen, although it is more unusual actually to see it," Mr. Cook said.

While regular meteor showers are commonplace, he said, this event was "absolutely unpredictable", recalling that people started "waking up" to "near-Earth objects" only a couple of years ago when the massive comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 smashed into Jupiter, the scars of which, apparently, remain visible.

Comment: Small correction: comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 smashed into Jupiter a couple of decades ago. Since then, Jupiter has been hit at least 3 more times by similarly-sized objects, our own Moon has been hit, and tens of thousands of fireballs have been reported all over this planet, including the February 2013 Chelyabinsk blast that sent shockwaves around the world (twice), apparently the largest celestial event we've had since the 1908 Tunguska overhead cometary explosion.

Comment: Pretty rare thing?! Somebody isn't doing his job properly...

Check out SOTT.net's 73 pages of archived fireball sightings from the past few years:

Fire in the Sky

Meanwhile, "coming from Honduras and moving northeast" takes this meteor or comet fragment (with train of meteors) over Florida on Monday night, which coincided with the explosions that hit the gas plant in Lake County, Florida.

Fireball 5

Did a meteor explode over Orange County, California? Residents report tremendous explosion

© Wally Pacholka / astropics.com
A meteor pierces the night sky in Joshua Tree during a Perseid meteor shower. Residents in Lake Forest's Foothill Ranch community say a loud explosion and a flash of light Tuesday morning were the result of a meteor falling.
Unlike trees, when a meteor falls in the wilderness, everyone can hear it.

And some Orange County residents think that's exactly what they heard when a thunderous boom rattled windows, scared pets and startled homeowners from their sleep early Tuesday morning.

About 12:15 a.m., the Orange County Sheriff's Department received three or four calls from residents in Lake Forest's Foothill Ranch community about a loud explosion and a flash of light. Several South Orange County residents also tweeted about the incident, asking about the source of the blast.

Entire neighborhoods emptied into the streets in the middle of the night, residents said, with some pointing to what looked like a cloudy path overhead as the telltale sign of some galactic visitor.

Fireball 5

Close approach of Asteroid 2003 DZ15

M.P.E.C. 2013-O29, issued on 2013 July 20, reports the recovery of the Apollo asteroid 2003 DZ15 (magnitude 18) by F51 Pan-STARRS 1, Haleakala, on images taken on July 19.4 with a 1.8-m Ritchey-Chretien + CCD.

2003 DZ15 was discovered on February 2003 by 608 Haleakala-NEAT/MSSS and it has an estimated size of 95 m - 210 m (based on the object's absolute magnitude H=22.2) and it will have a close approach with Earth at about 9.1 LD (Lunar Distances = ~384,000 kilometers) or 0.0233 AU (1 AU = ~150 million kilometers) at 0037 UT on 2013 July 30. This asteroid will reach the peak magnitude ~16.5 on 29 and 30 July 2013. This is its closest approach to the Earth for this century, although it will make a pass nearly as close to the Earth in 2057 on February 12th.

We performed some follow-up measurements of this object, from the Q62 ITelescope network (Siding Spring, AU) on 2013, July 28.6, through a 0.50-m f/6.8 astrograph + CCD + focal reducer. Below you can see our image, single 120-second exposure, taken with the asteroid at magnitude ~16.6 and moving at ~40.80 "/min. At the moment of the close approach 2003 DZ15 will move at ~52 "/min. Click on the image below to see a bigger version (the asteroid is trailed in the image due to its fast speed).
Asteroid 2003 DZ15
© Remanzacco Observatory
Here you can see a short animation showing the movement of 2003 DZ15 (three consecutive 120-second exposure).

Fireball 3

Yet another close shave! Near-Earth asteroid 2003 DZ15 fly-by, 30 July 2013

Asteroid 2003 DZ15
© Created by the author using JPL’s Small-Body Database Browser
The current orbital position of asteroid 2003 DZ15.
The Earth will get another close shave Monday, when the 152 metre asteroid 2003 DZ15 makes a pass by our fair planet on the night of July 29th/30th at 3.5 million kilometres distant. This is over 9 times the Earth-Moon distance and poses no threat to our world.

This is much smaller than 2.75 kilometre 1998 QE2, which sailed by (bad pun intended) our fair world at 5.8 million kilometres distant on May 31st, 2013. The Virtual Telescope Project will be presenting a free online event to monitor the passage of NEA 2003 DZ15 starting Monday night July 29th at 22:00 UT/6:00 PM EDT.

An Apollo asteroid, 2003 DZ15 was confirmed by the Lowell Observatory and NEAT's Mount Palomar telescope upon discovery in February 2003. This is its closest approach to the Earth for this century, although it will make a pass nearly as close to the Earth in 2057 on February 12th.

Fireball 5

Newfound asteroid flies by earth tonight

2013 NE19
© NASA/JPL-Caltech
Diagram showing orbit of near-Earth asteroid 2013 NE19, which passes close to Earth on July 22, 2013.
A newfound asteroid about the size of a football field will cruise past Earth tonight (July 22), and you can follow all the action live online.

The near-Earth asteroid 2013 NE19, estimated to be between 194 feet and 426 feet wide (59 to 130 meters), will pass within 2.6 million miles (4.2 million kilometers) of Earth tonight - about 11 times the distance between our planet and the moon. There is no danger that it will strike Earth on this pass, scientists say.

The online Slooh Space Camera will webcast live views of 2013 NE19's close approach as seen from an observatory in the Canary Islands off the west coast of Africa. You can watch the asteroid webcast live here on SPACE.com at 9 p.m. EDT (0100 GMT Tuesday), courtesy of Slooh.

Asteroid 2013 NE19, which was discovered just last Monday (July 15), will be quite faint, making it a difficult target for backyard observers. But it should be readily visible in Slooh's remote-controlled telescope, the group said.

"Slooh's imaging technology and high-altitude location in the Canary Islands are well suited for a tricky object like this, which may be impossible for garden-variety setups to capture," Slooh CEO Michael Paolucci said in a statement.