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Heaven and Earth: Unusual natural events and strange phenomena from around the world in January 2014

Image
© AP
This video compiles footages of strange phenomena of all kinds, including awesome natural events or beautiful phenomena from around the world in the last few weeks.

In just the last couple of weeks, we've seen:

Volcanic eruptions in Sicily and Indonesia and elsewhere - 'Sky trumpet sounds' in Iceland, and loud booms shaking homes all over the US - Large earthquake in New Zealand, and an ongoing heatwave in Australia - Giant boulders falling off a mountain Italy and record flooding across Europe - More 'spinning ice-river' circles, this time in Norway - Strange cloud cover producing pretty sunsets and unusual light refraction, including a spectacular sun halo over Moscow - More mass animal deaths - More meteor fireballs falling from the sky, and 'hole-punch clouds'! - More UFO sightings - Massive electrical storms, including a super-electrical storm in Rio de Janeiro that produced an interesting omen: a thunderbolt struck the giant statue of Jesus above the city!... There were also major electrical storms in Europe... and this in the middle of winter! - Tornado outbreaks in the UK, which are unusual even in the summer - Thousands of wildfires breaking out in some of the coldest places on the planet - UK's wettest January in 250 years as the island continues to be pummeled with storm after storm...


I covered events from earlier in January and late December 2013 here.

Check out the rest of this series here.

Fireball 5

Earthquake in Groningen actually sonic boom?

Seismograph
© Wikipedia
Seismographic reading.
This week, the province of Groningen felt what was thought to be another earthquake, but this was tuesday evening confirmed more likely to be a sonic boom. The Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI) confirmed no activity was seen on a seismograph, but the institute did record a bang in the atmosphere to the north of Ameland, a spokesperson says.

A little after 10 on Tuesday evening, Twitter blew up with messages about the earthquake. People also called the media with the report. The messages claimed it was a big one, too.

Most of the tremors were felt in a relatively small area, but reports also came from Drenthe and south-east Friesland. Richard van Dijk, a resident from Loppersum, where earthquakes are frequently experienced from the fracking by NAM in the area, reported that the front of his house was sinking.

On Twitter, residents from Ulrum, Middelstum and Loppersom said they felt tremors. People living further away like Groningen, Assen and Haulerwijk, reportedly felt "quakes".

Expert Theo Jurriens from the Rijksuniversiteit Groningen expects that it was not a meteor, because there were no messages from eye witnesses. "Then it would have been a big one, and that we would have seen", he said around midnight. According to the NOS, the KNMI will still investigate this possibility.

"Possibly, it was a jet passing through the sound barrier", Theo says.

Defense claims no responsibility for the bang. "But it is not clear. It could be an aircraft from another country that was flying above the North Sea" Jurriens says.

In 1992, the bang of a jet was heard, but nothing was seen, and even the church got damaged.

Fireball

First meeting of international group tasked with reacting to asteroids

Image
© ESA
A new international group meets for the first time in February to coordinate efforts to predict and prevent major asteroid impacts.
Next week in Germany, representatives of all mankind's space-faring nations will get together in a room to begin coordinating efforts to prevent the end of the world...or at least to figure out how to identify and prevent really big space rocks from smacking us around like that meteor that hit Russia last year.

We've all watched those scenes in science fiction movies where the leaders of the planet (or planets) all sit around a large table and come to a consensus about the best way to confront the latest existential threat. I'm always left wondering where the heck they get such a huge table, and how they managed to come up with a unanimous plan of action in less than 5 minutes. It's a little different from the endless gabfest of political posturing translating to minimal real-world action that is a meeting of today's United Nations.

Or is it? The first ever meeting of the Space Mission Planning and Advisory Group (SMPAG, pronounced "same page" -- see what they did there?) set to be hosted by the European Space Agency on February 6 and 7 sounds a little more like the Hollywood version of consensus-making, just with less melodrama and fewer ridiculously beautiful people everywhere.

Camera

Daytime meteor fireball photographed in sky above Mounts Bay, Cornwall, England

Image
© Michael Potter
On the left side of this picture, highlighted by the dark cloud but with its detail obscured, is a bright triangular shape streaking across the sky.

Could it be visitor from space or perhaps an experimental delta-wing aircraft from Culdrose or beyond?

It was snapped by accident and only discovered when Michael Potter reviewed his photographs of Mounts Bay on his computer.

He said: "I uploaded it to my laptop and decided to delete it because of the apparent sunspot over part of the image.

Meteor

'Sonic booms', 'frost-quakes', and now another lame explanation for overhead explosions: Loud booms in Chesterfield, Virginia blamed on exploding tannerite

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File photo of a meteor fireball
Several mysterious booms heard in Chesterfield and the Tri-Cities were likely caused by exploding targets made with tannerite.

Tannerite targets can be bought over-the-counter at sporting goods stores, usually in half-pound or pound jars. However, bulk exploding tannerite targets are available online.

Justin Watkins, 28, fired off 20 pounds of tannerite Saturday afternoon. Watkins says he and many neighbors in the area shoot off the loud, exploding targets in the woods. Tannerite targets are perfectly legal, if used properly.

"We spent close to $100 on just 20 pounds of (tannerite)," said Watkins.

Neighbors were certainly shocked by Saturday's blast and the series of explosions heard intermittently over the last few weeks.

"It was like an explosion and it startled us. It shook the house, and we weren't sure what it was," said Beth Wilson, who was rattled after the big boom on Saturday.


Comment: All the 'booms' cannot be attributed to exploding tannerite because they don't fit the description of loud booms that "shake houses" and are heard "around the county and beyond". Here are two videos of 20 pounds of tannerite exploding:



It's quite loud, and indeed it could shake a nearby house, but it's not going to be heard for miles around and it's not going to startle people if they're used to tannerite going off.


Fireball 4

'Huge' meteor fireball seen across eight Mexican states

Meteor
© Twitter/Steffany_rm
Lots of people in Mexico reported seeing a meteor (meteoro) or meteorite (meteorito) on Thursday evening. The meteor or comet was spotted around 7:03 p.m. local time by a web camera in Mexico City and also reported by a range of people from other locations.

One Twitter user said they saw it from the hills of Angeloplis "perfectly."

Another said they saw it in Puebla.

"It crossed the entire sky from south to west," said another user.

Sightings were also reported in Morella. Sky Alert said that sightings have been reported in eight states and the federal district."It was a streak of light moving at high speed," said Andres Olmos in Morella. "It was huge!"

Fireball 2

AMS receives hundreds of reports of 4 separate meteor fireballs seen over U.S., 28 January 2014

The American Meteor Society has received over 100 reports of a bright fireball seen from mid western states at approximately 8:30 PM local eastern time. Witnesses from Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, West Virginia, Kentucky, Michigan and Pennsylvania reported an extremely large and bright bluish green ball of light followed by a bright white tail. Sighting reports clustered the start and end point of the meteor near the Ohio and Kentucky border, heading from the east almost due west.

From Bill Cooke (Meteoroid Environments Office, NASA)
Time of this fireball was January 29 at 01:17:39 UTC (Jan 28 - 8:17pm EST.)
Best trajectory estimation:
Start location: 83.397 W, 37.809 N at 93 km altitude
End location: 84.278 W, 37.162 N at 70 km altitude
Speed: 36 km/s +/- 7 km/s
Radiant: RA 172.1 +/- 2 deg, Dec +40.8 +/- 0.4 deg
Image
© AMS
AMS Event #312-2014 – "Mid West Fireball" – January 28th, 2014 – 2D Trajectory

Fireball 2

Meteor fireball lights up night sky in Kentucky, 28 January 2014

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Screencapture of a meteor fireball over Kentucky, 28 Jan. 2014, from a security camera.
It's something that has puzzled people across Michiana... what lit up the sky Tuesday night?

While outside with his dog last night, something in the night sky caught Jason Goss' eye.

"I just saw this great big ball of fire basically coming from the north heading to the south and it disappeared behind the building," Goss said.

That ball of fire was big, big enough to be seen as far away as southeastern Kentucky where a security camera caught it lighting up the sky before fading away.

"It happened so quick I didn't know what to think," Goss said.


Meteor

Meteor fireballs, 'loud booms' and 'strange sky sounds' reported over Oklahoma

Image
© SOTT.net
On January 24th, 2014, a meteor fireball was seen by many above Oklahoma and Texas, with reports also coming in from Arkansas.


The following day, on January 25th, in Tulsa, Oklahoma thousands reported feeling and hearing a very loud boom. It was loud enough to be heard indoors and it shook windows and rattled doors.

Comment: See also: Fire in the Sky - SOTT Summary 2013


Meteor

Massive overhead boom in Northeast Oklahoma shakes doors and rattles windows - sonic boom from military fighter jet ruled out

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The Doppler radar image of ‘unknown turbulence’ over Beebe, Arkansas, on January 1st 2011
Thousands of people across northeastern Oklahoma are asking the same question today: So what WAS it?

The "it" in this case was a very loud boom that was heard and felt at about 8 p.m. Saturday, January 25, 2014. Moments after it happened, the News On 6 social media accounts were jammed with people wanting to know if anyone else had heard and felt it.

The police and fire department scanners in the newsroom crackled to life with dispatchers telling crews in the field about all the calls to 911 about it.

People across the News On 6 viewing area reported a very similar experience: a boom loud enough to be heard indoors that shook windows and even rattled doors. It's understandable why they would want to know what caused it. That goes double for those of us here at News On 6.

Comment: So that rules military jets out then for all these overhead booms currently being reported in every state daily...