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Fireball 3

Fireball seen over Portland, Oregon, 30 October 2013

© George Varros and Dr. Peter Jenniskens/NASA/Getty Images
In Space - November 19: This image taken with a meteorite tracking device developed by George Varros, shows a meteorite as it enters Earth's atmosphere during the Leonid meteor shower November 19, 2002. The device, which is deployed on board a NASA DC-8, tracks and photographs meteorites.
Several people in the Portland Metro area reported seeing a fireball in the sky Wednesday morning, moving east to west.

Three different viewers contacted KGW to say they had seen it just before 6 a.m.

"I was out walking my dog this morning around 5:55 a.m. and saw what looked like someone lit a tennis ball on fire and threw it," viewer John Kisling said. "It took a couple seconds to traverse the sky."

An expert told KGW it was a piece of an asteroid burning up when it hit the atmosphere.

"Fireballs are not uncommon," said Dick Pugh of the Portland State University Meteorite Labratory. "The question is: Did it make it all the way down?"

Comment: No, the question is: why are they now common?

Fireball 5

Trailer truck-size asteroid to buzz Earth inside moon's orbit today

2013 UV3
This illustration shows the trajectory of asteroid 2013 UV3, in blue, as it flies by Earth.
A space rock the size of a tractor-trailer is set to fly harmlessly by Earth today (Oct. 29), zipping between our planet and the moon.

"Small asteroid 2013 UV3 will safely pass Earth Oct. 29," reads a Twitter post from NASA's Near-Earth Object Program (@AsteroidWatch), based at the agency's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, Calif.

The space rock was first observed just a few days ago, on Oct. 25, according to data from JPL. The asteroid's path, illustrated in this video animation, (below) will bring it inside the orbit of the moon, which typically circles Earth from a distance of about 239,000 miles (384,600 kilometers).


Paleontologist presents origin of life theory

Origin of Life Theory
© Texas Tech University
Most researchers believe that life originated in deep-sea hydrothermal vents. About 4 billion years ago, Earth was a watery planet; ocean stretched from pole to pole; any life synthesis would be dilated. It needed a protected basin.
It has baffled humans for millennia: how did life begin on planet Earth? Now, new research from a Texas Tech University paleontologist suggests it may have rained from the skies and started in the bowels of hell.

Sankar Chatterjee, Horn Professor of Geosciences and curator of paleontology at The Museum of Texas Tech University believes he has found the answer by connecting theories on chemical evolution with evidence related to our planet's early geology.

"This is bigger than finding any dinosaur," Chatterjee said. "This is what we've all searched for - the Holy Grail of science."

Thanks to regular and heavy comet and meteorite bombardment of Earth's surface during its formative years 4 billion years ago, the large craters left behind not only contained water and the basic chemical building blocks for life, but also became the perfect crucible to concentrate and cook these chemicals to create the first simple organisms.

He will present his findings Oct. 30 during the 125th Anniversary Annual Meeting of the Geological Society of America in Denver.

As well as discovering how ancient animals flew, Chatterjee discovered the Shiva Meteorite Crater, which was created by a 25-mile-wide meteorite that struck off the coast of India. This research concluded this giant meteorite wreaked havoc simultaneously with the Chicxulub meteorite strike near Mexico, finishing the dinosaurs 65 million years ago.

Ironically, Chatterjee's latest research suggests meteorites can be givers of life as well as takers. He said that meteor and comet strikes likely brought the ingredients and created the right conditions for life on our planet. By studying three sites containing the world's oldest fossils, he believes he knows how the first single-celled organisms formed in hydrothermal crater basins.

"When the Earth formed some 4.5 billion years ago, it was a sterile planet inhospitable to living organisms," Chatterjee said. "It was a seething cauldron of erupting volcanoes, raining meteors and hot, noxious gasses. One billion years later, it was a placid, watery planet teeming with microbial life - the ancestors to all living things."


27 fireballs recorded over U.S. on 26 October 2013

Every night, a network of NASA all-sky cameras scans the skies above the United States for meteoritic fireballs. Automated software maintained by NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office calculates their orbits, velocity, penetration depth in Earth's atmosphere and many other characteristics. Daily results are presented here on Spaceweather.com.

On Oct. 26, 2013, the network reported 27 fireballs.
(16 sporadics, 7 Orionids, 1 Leonis Minorid, 1 epsilon Geminid, 1 Southern Taurid, 1 xi Draconid)

Fireballs recorded over the US
In this diagram of the inner solar system, all of the fireball orbits intersect at a single point--Earth. The orbits are color-coded by velocity, from slow (red) to fast (blue). [Larger image] [movies

Comment: Are you getting the feeling that the space around us is getting crowded with cosmic visitors?

Fireball 2

Meteor sighted over Liberal, Kansas

© Leader&Times
A large, vibrant meteor lit up sky over Liberal early this morning, and one man who witnessed the meteor was impressed.

While dodging traffic turning into National Beef's north entrance at Eighth Street and U.S. Highway 54 this morning, Leader & Times Managing Editor Larry Phillips witnessed a large meteorite streaking through the sky just west of Liberal.

"Just as I was coming into town - at 65 mph - as always, two eastbound cars turned right in front of me onto Eighth Street," Phillips said. "I hit my bright lights and my brakes.

"As I passed the intersection just behind the second car turning in, I caught a large white light out of my peripheral vision in my upper right side of the windshield," he continued. "It was too large and moving too fast to be a plane, and then a large tail started developing, and I knew it was a meteor.

Fireball 4

Meteor spotted shooting across the Colorado sky

A meteor shot across the sky Thursday morning.

Chris Peterson, who works at the Cloudbait Observatory, said after comparing two videos, he believes it began over Mead and ended over Yuma.

It traveled about 125 mi. and the height was about 28 mi. Peterson estimates the meteor's speed to about 35,000 mph.

While that sounds fast to some, it classifies the meteor as a low, slow meteor, which will most likely to drop meteorites.

Peterson also said this meteor is not part of the Orionid meteor shower, which peaked a few days ago and still has some minor activity.

This is a sporadic meteor that's unassociated with any other showers.


Orionid meteor shower: Huge grazing meteor over New Mexico - October 19, 2013

Despite a bright moon, the Orionid meteor shower produced some amazing cosmic sights for stargazers. Here some videos coming back on the 15 Orionid meteors detected, including two brilliant fireballs.
A bright grazing fireball was caught on video over New Mexico on October 19, 2013

Fireball network catches a very bright Meteor streaking across the sky in a Southwest Motion Saturday, October 19 at 8:16 PM local time. The fireball was picked up New Mexico State University meteor camera. It looks to be a grazing fireball. Credit: NASA / N M State university

Here another video showing some of the 15 Orionid fireballs caught by the NASA all-sky network on October 20 2013


Huge half-ton chunk of Chelyabinsk meteorite lifted from lakebed

© RIA Novosti / Aleksandr Kondratuk
The largest-discovered fragment of a Russian meteorite, weighing around 570 kilograms, has been lifted from the bed of Lake Chebarkul in the Urals.

The huge meteorite chunk split into three pieces when scientists tried to weigh it. The precise weight could not be established because the heavy object broke the scales.

"The preliminary examination... shows that this is really a fraction of the Chelyabinsk meteorite. It's got thick burn-off, the rust is clearly seen and it's got a big number of indents. This chunk is most probably one of the top ten biggest meteorite fragments ever found," said Sergey Zamozdra, associate professor of Chelyabinsk State University, as cited by Interfax news agency.

He explained that it was important to establish the weight of the fragment in order to learn more about the qualities of the whole of the meteorite.

The lifted chunk was taken to the regional natural history museum. The plan is to have a small sample of it X-rayed to determine what minerals it consists of.

Fireball 4

Two fireball events captured on video over Scotland

A lucky photographer captured the rare moment a fireball lit up the sky above Sligachan on the Isle of Skye in Scotland. The rare event was accidentally captured by landscape photographer Marcus McAdam, who has been working on a time lapse video showing a year on Skye condensed into minutes.

Recently, he set his camera to record the stars over the Cuillin Mountains overnight. Describing what he discovered the next day, Marcus told Rex Features: "As I was loading the images onto my computer, one thumbnail stood out as being quite different to the others, so I enlarged it and saw a huge streak across the sky".

Unsure what he had captured, he asked his Facebook followers and they pointed to a news story about reports of a fireball seen in the sky. Amazingly, he has since discovered that the phenomenon he recorded was a different fireball - meaning there were two within 50 miles of each other at around the same time.

Marcus added: "I've since learnt that this is an extremely rare event, and even rarer to be photographed, as the whole thing happens in less than a second".

Fireball 3

Five most dramatic asteroids caught on camera

As reports suggest Earth will have a close shave with a 1,345-foot (410m) asteroid in 2032, we look back at five that created a stunning spectacle but left Earth largely unscathed.

The Chelyabinsk asteroid which caused widespread damage in Russia's southern Urals in February maybe the best known, but it's far from the only asteroid sighting captured for posterity.

One of the earliest sightings to be caught on camera was of the Great Daylight Fireball of 1972. Estimated to have been travelling at nine miles per second, it streaked across Utah before flying over Canada.

Police officers out on patrol appear to have a good track record in spotting the flaming fireballs - two of the clips featured above were filmed by in-car cameras fitted to police cars.

With increasing numbers of CCTV systems and dashboard cameras in vehicles, it seems likely that such sightings will increasingly be captured on video.