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Fireballs

Fireball 2

Aboriginal legends reveal ancient secrets to science

Meteor
© BBC
Meteor streaks across the sky against a field of star.
Scientists are beginning to tap into a wellspring of knowledge buried in the ancient stories of Australia's Aboriginal peoples. But the loss of indigenous languages could mean it is too late to learn from them.

The Luritja people, native to the remote deserts of central Australia, once told stories about a fire devil coming down from the Sun, crashing into Earth and killing everything in the vicinity.

The local people feared if they strayed too close to this land they might reignite some otherworldly creature.

The legend describes the crash landing of a meteor in Australia's Central Desert about 4,700 years ago, says University of New South Wales (UNSW) astrophysicist Duane Hamacher.

It would have been a dramatic and fiery event, with the meteor blazing across the sky. As it broke apart, large fragments of metal-rich rock would have crashed to Earth with explosive force, creating a dozen giant craters.

The Northern Territory site, which was discovered in the 1930s by white prospectors with the help of Luritja guides, is today known as the Henbury Meteorites Conservation Reserve.

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Researchers: Asteroid that killed the dinosaurs 66 million years ago may have caused Deccan Traps' vast lava flow

Image
© Gerta Keller
The Deccan Traps in India - between 17° - 24° North and 73° - 74° East - are a place where you can find layer upon layer of solidified rock. This region is thought to have been the site of extremely powerful volcanic activity in the past, so powerful that it caused mile-deep lava over an area as large as the state of California. Last week (April 30, 2015) geophysicists at UC Berkeley announced their evidence that this vast region is related to the asteroid thought to have slammed into the ocean half a world away. The impact near Chicxulub, Mexico - 66 million years ago - is believed by many researchers to have killed the dinosaurs and ushered in the age of mammals. The Berkeley researchers say the impact probably "rang the Earth like a bell," triggering powerful earthquakes and volcanos around the globe, including those that created the Deccan Traps.

The Berkeley researchers - who published their work online April 30 in the The Geological Society of America Bulletin - cited the "uncomfortably close" coincidence between the Deccan Traps eruptions and the asteroid impact 66 million years ago. Team leader Mark Richards of UC Berkeley said in a statement:
If you try to explain why the largest impact we know of in the last billion years happened within 100,000 years of these massive lava flows at Deccan ... the chances of that occurring at random are minuscule.
Image
© UC Berkeley
Illustration of a hot mantle plume “head” pancaked beneath the Indian Plate. The theory by Richards and his colleagues suggests that existing magma within this plume head was mobilized by strong seismic shaking from the Chicxulub asteroid impact, resulting in the largest of the Deccan Traps flood basalt eruptions.
Richards had proposed in 1989 that plumes of hot rock, called "plume heads," rise through Earth's mantle every 20-30 million years and generate huge lava flows, called flood basalts, like the Deccan Traps. It struck him as more than coincidence that the last four of the six known mass extinctions of life occurred at the same time as one of these massive eruptions.

Comment: See also: Forget About Global Warming: We're One Step From Extinction!


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Fireball seen in Eatontown, New Jersey

Image
© Associated Press
Sightings of a meteor like this one, photographed over the Arizona desert in 2001, were reported at the Jersey Shore and along the Northeastern U.S. Friday night, May 1.
There were numerous reports of a meteor streaking across the night sky late Friday.

Dora Marcouiller said she saw it while she was driving in Eatontown about 9:40 p.m.

"It flew southeast/northwest. It was as clear as day and crossed the top of the tree line. I saw the ball illuminating the sky with the tail of burning fire behind. It was huge and very distinct," the Eatontown resident said in an email to the Asbury Park Press.

Most meteors, or shooting stars, are visible as brief streaks of light. Marcouiller's description appears to match that of a "fireball," an unusually large and bright meteor. To be considered a fireball, a meteor must be at least as bright as Venus, according to an article from Geology.com.

Meteor-related websites reported sightings from Quebec, Canada to Maryland Friday night.

Fireball

Fireball spotted over Peterborough, Canada

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A meteor. (File photo)
A fireball was seen over Peterborough's north end early Wednesday morning.

The meteor was bright light green in colour and split into two parts as it fell through the atmosphere, and could be seen for just a few seconds, around 1:58 a.m. Wednesday.

But unlike the loud daytime meteor heard nearly a year ago in Peterborough, there was no sound associated with Wednesday's fireball.

The fireball was also spotted at that time from Montreal, according to the American Meteor Society.

Meteor sightings were also reported to the American Meteor Society at 1:51 a.m. Wednesday from Niagara Falls, N.Y. and at 2:03 a.m. Wednesday from Ontario.

The Eta Aquariids is the current major meteor shower. It lasts until May 19 with a peak of May 6 and 7.

The April Rho Cygnids and the H Virginids showers were also active on Wednesday, according to the American Meteor Society.

Fireball

Fireball lights up the sky in East Lancashire, UK

Image
© Steve Hooks
Steve Hooks caught the 'fireball' on camera
The East Lancashire sky lit up briefly under the glare of a huge falling fireball last night — sparking fears of a 'plane crash or the end of the world'!

The large meteor was spotted by several residents at around 10.10pm as it fell over the north west on what was a clear, crisp night.

Denise Kennedy-Scott was in her garden close to Blackburn Rugby Club when she spotted the fireball.

She said: "I was looking across the field and looked up to see what looked like a white shooting star to start with, but as it got closer — and it was moving slowly — it got bigger and bigger.


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Meteor lights up sky over Kerala, India

Fireball
© english.manoramaonline.com
Sky lights up again in Trippunithura, meteor suspected.
Trippunithura: Fireballs were seen in the evening sky here on Friday, reminding one of a similar incident some time ago. During heavy showers in the evening, the fireball was seen around 9.30 pm.

The fireball was associated with bright light and it seemed to move from the east to the west at a low altitude. The phenomenon lasted only for a few seconds. Unlike in the earlier instance, the fire ball was not accompanied by any sound.

Scientific observer Dr Rajagopal Kammath opined that this could have been a meteor and that there is no room for concern. He said that this is the time of the year when meteors called Lyrids drop to the surface of the earth. They travel from east to west and up to 20 have been cited in an hour at various places. He said that they would be more visible after midnight.

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UK photographer snaps meteor leaving a 'Z' in the sky

Meteor
© petapixel.com
Animated GIF here.
A couple of nights ago, Hawick, UK-based photographer Sam Cornwell spent some time in the great outdoors taking pictures of the April Lyrids meteor shower that happens from April 16 to April 26 of each year. Just as he was about to call it quits and return home without a keeper, Cornwell captured the above photo of a huge "fireball" streaking across the night sky.

After returning home and taking a closer look at the burst of frames he shot, Cornwell noticed that the meteor had left a "wicked smoke trail" in the sky in the shape of an expanding (then disappearing) 'Z.' He strung the frames together into an animated GIF.

"Looks a bit like the mark of Zorro dontchafink?," Cornwell writes.

Fireball 2

Did a meteor fireball change the course of Christianity?

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Paul converted to Christianity after experiencing a bright light and a divine voice while he traveled on a road towards Damascus in Syria, as depicted in this painting by Michelangelo, but it may have been a meteor
It was a vision that apparently led the biblical Paul to become one of the most influential figures in early Christianity by helping to spread the religion around the world.

But now astronomers believe the bright light in the sky that triggered the conversion of Paul the Apostle may have actually been a falling meteor 2,000 years ago.

They say descriptions of Paul's experience - in which he was blinded for three days after seeing a bright light - match accounts of the fireball that streaked across the sky above Chelyabinsk in Russia in 2013.

Dr William Hartmann, co-founder of the Planetary Science Institute in Tucson, Arizona, examined three accounts of Paul's conversion in the Bible.

Comment: This is SOOO bogus. Paul himself NEVER says he had such a vision and HIS evidence is to the contrary. It was a fairy tale made up by the author of the book of Acts.


Fireball

Strange roar heard Sunday night across southern Wisconsin

Janesville
Image
© Mikesastrophotos.com
A roaring sound caught the attention of people across a widespread region of southern Wisconsin around 8:15 p.m. Sunday.

The sound seemed louder and longer than an airline plane would make, and it was heard in Beloit, Milton, Evansville, Albany, Monticello and Monroe as well as Janesville, according to Facebook comments.

One commenter from Brodhead said it made her house vibrate.

It was raining but not windy in Janesville at the time.

One commenter suggested the sound was from a meteor, and indeed, roaring sounds have been attributed to meteors in the past, news reports indicate.

The Rock County Sheriff's Office and Rock County 911 center said it had received no calls about the phenomenon or any damage.

A 911 official checked with the National Weather Service in Sullivan, where officials had no radar contacts or weather events that might explain the noise.

Fireball 4

Luminescent green fireball spotted in Durham, Newcastle, North Yorkshire and Cumbria, UK

Image
© Mikesastrophotos.com
A spectacular fireball has been seen streaking across the sky by people across the North-East and further afield.

A luminescent green ball, which burned brightly for several seconds as it plunged earthward, could have been caused by an object no bigger than a pea.

It is thought it could have been an early arrival of the Lyrid meteor shower expected to begin tonight (Thursday, April 16) - caused when the earth passes through the dusty tail of Comet Thatcher.

The larger-than-average meteor fell in the northern skies at 9.25pm last night with sightings in County Durham, Newcastle, North Yorkshire, and Cumbria. It was first reported online by The Northern Echo's website.

Amateur astronomer Martin Whipp, of Ripon, North Yorkshire, said: "I was heading back home driving parallel to the A1 near Boroughbridge when I saw it.

"It was magnitude -5, which is slightly bigger than Venus and was visible for two to three seconds before it broke up into pieces as it came down. It was slightly greenish in colour."

Mr Whipp, who has been a member of the York Astronomical Society for more than 20 years, said: "It was a fireball. Anything brighter than Venus is classed as a fireball. Anything smaller than that is just a meteor.