Fireball 2

Massive fireball with long tail blazes over New Zealand

Shooting Star
© ReutersA shooting star photographed by an astronaut in space.
The sight of a giant shooting star left a North Taranaki man shaking after his early morning run.

Lance Howarth, a mobile mechanic, was out running around the back roads of Lepperton this morning when he saw the star around 5:45am.

''It was that bloody spectacular I had to stop and watch it.''

He said the star had completely lit up the dark moonless sky and surrounding countryside.

''It was early and still dark and the only reason I noticed it was because all of a sudden I could see where I was going and I thought, 'hang on, it's just got light really quickly' and looked up and there it was.''

He described the shooting star as a massive 'fireball' with a long tail and said it seemed to travel from the north east to south west before disappearing into cloud over the ranges.

''It was just frickin' huge. For a while I thought it might crash into the ranges.''

The star almost passed right above his head, and was completely silent, he said.

''It was the best thing I've ever seen, and the most frightening.''

Stunned, his mind ran to the possibilities of what it could mean.

''I did think for a second, ''are we about to be invaded by aliens?'''

The star also left a vapour trail which hung in the sky for at least half an hour, he said.

''I had to keep looking back.''

Fireball 4

Meteor spotted over North Carolina

© Associated Press
Charlotte -- Some folks in North Carolina were lucky enough to have partially clear skies last night to see a large fireball or meteorite.

More than 200 people from Indiana to Ohio southward toward North Carolina reported seeing the large fireball. Most of the sightings came in just before midnight and folks reported the it was traveling from south to north across the sky. The meteorite was described as bright white with some red. There were no reports of sounds as it passed by the area.

If you saw the meteorite or fireball last night, you can make a report to the American Meteor Society.

First Warn Storm Spotter Stuart McDaniel has a All Sky Camera and caught the flash around 12:15am. Clouds did obscure a better view at his location in Lawndale, NC in Cleveland County.

Fireball 5

A bird? A plane? No, a meteor over Exeter, UK

People were stunned to see bright, flashing lights in the sky above Exeter. Several residents reported seeing what appeared to be a meteor on Monday evening. They described a "white ball" moving quickly above the city.

Trevor Sharp, from Exwick, said he saw the meteor just after dusk. He said: "We were putting our chickens away. It was low down near the horizon, pretty much east of Exwick, travelling south towards the north.

"It suddenly appeared a classic comet shape, a white ball with perhaps yellow eges and a bright white cone tail out the back. The person I was with saw it too. It was only there for a second. I never expected to see such a sight from my garden."

The object was spotted right across Devon.

Billy Dymond saw it from North Devon. He said: "We watched if for around three to four seconds, a large white ball turning green, not just going across but falling downwards towards earth at an incredible speed."


San Francisco plane crash: Asiana pilot says he was blinded by bright light

© Benjamin Levy, APPassengers from Asiana Airlines flight 214, many with their luggage, on the tarmac just moments after the plane crashed at the San Francisco International Airport in San Francisco on July 6.
Federal crash investigators revealed Wednesday that the pilot flying Asiana Airlines Flight 214 told them that he was temporarily blinded by a bright light when 500 feet above the ground.

Deborah Hersman, chairwoman of the National Transportation Safety Board, said it wasn't clear what could have caused the problem. Asked specifically whether it could have been a laser pointed from the ground, Hersman said she couldn't say what caused it.

"We need to understand exactly what that is," Hersman said. "It was a temporary issue."

Her comments came during a daily press briefing on the Saturday crash of Asiana Flight 214 that left two dead and 168 others injured.

Federal crash investigators previously said that pilots recognized they were too low and not lined up precisely with the runway while still 500 feet from the ground. At 500 feet, pilots recognized that they were low as the Boeing 777 was going 134 knots and was 34 seconds from impact. They continued to make adjustments until hitting the seawall at the end of the runway at San Francisco International Airport.

Evacuation of the plane didn't begin immediately. Airlines must certify that they can evacuate fully loaded planes within 90 seconds. But in this case, a pilot told flight attendants not to begin the evacuation immediately when the plane came to rest.

But after about 90 seconds, a flight attendant near the second door reported seeing fire outside a window in the middle of the plane. He relayed that information to the cockpit and the evacuation began.

Fireball 5

Iowa impact crater confirmed

Iowa Crater
© Adam Kiel, U.S. Geological SurveyAn airborne geophysical survey has confirmed the discovery of an impact crater under the town of Decorah in northeastern Iowa.
An airborne geophysical survey mapping mineral resources in the Midwest has confirmed that a 470-million-year-old impact crater nearly five times the size of Barringer (Meteor) Crater in Arizona lies buried several hundred meters beneath the town of Decorah, Iowa.

The crater's existence was first hypothesized in 2008 when geologists examining cuttings from water wells drilled near the town were surprised to find evidence of a previously unknown shale deposit. When geologist Robert McKay from the Iowa Geological Survey investigated further, he found something even more surprising: The shale deposit was nearly a perfect circle, roughly 5.5 kilometers across. Further analysis of sub-shale breccias by Bevan French, a geologist at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History, revealed shocked quartz - a telltale sign of an impact. Together, the evidence added up to an exciting possibility: the existence of a previously unknown impact crater in the Midwest.

Earlier this year, more evidence accumulated when scientists at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and the Iowa and Minnesota Geological Surveys conducted a high-resolution geophysical survey of the region to assess water resources and mineral resources. They were specifically mapping the Northeast Iowa Igneous Intrusive complex, which lies in the Midcontinent Rift System that formed about 1.1 billion years ago, and may contain valuable copper, nickel and platinum group metal resources.

Fireball 2

Covering up the celestial threat yet again: Boom! goes the mystery?

Little-known military flight area might be cause of noise reports
The Lake Andes Military Operations Area is shown in the lower right portion of this map taken from a report on the website of the Department of Defense’s Environment, Safety and Occupational Health Network and Information Exchange.

Some Mitchell-area residents were in a state of bewilderment last Saturday night after hearing a loud boom.

Though definitive information is scant, the boom could have been from a jet flying at supersonic speeds through a little-known military operations area.

The boom was heard around 11 p.m. and spawned calls to law enforcement officials in Mitchell and Mount Vernon, who did not determine a cause for the noise.

The National Weather Service office in Sioux Falls reported rain that night, but not much thunder. A lightning strike would be heard as a boom nearby where it hit, but would sound like a rumble from farther away.

Davison County Chief Deputy Steve Harr heard dispatchers discuss calls they received about a big boom. He heard reports of people who heard it in Mitchell, Mount Vernon and five miles northwest of Mount Vernon.

"This was a first for me," Harr said.

The noise may have been a sonic boom created by a jet flying faster than the speed of sound. The speed of sound varies with altitude and temperature, but is about 770 mph. The sonic boom would travel with the aircraft. Because the speed of sound can constantly change, it is possible to unintentionally break it.

The jet may have been flying through the Lake Andes Military Operations Area, an airspace used by the military for simulated air combat and complex missions, and practice maneuvers. It is the only such military operations area in the state, other than a small portion of the Powder River military air space in Montana and Wyoming that juts into South Dakota's northwest corner.

Fireball 3

More cosmic fireworks with mass demonstrations, this time in Cairo

meteor egypt
© Screenshot YouTube
Is it just a coincidence that fireballs were filmed over Cairo and Sao Paulo/Rio de Janeiro as mass demonstrations peaked in Egypt on July 2nd, and Brazil on June 18th, 2013?

Check it out at 11 seconds... sure looks like a meteor/fireball to us.


Covering up the celestial threat again: "Sonic boom" shakes homes in Nantucket, Massachusetts

A powerful noise believed to be a sonic boom from a passing aircraft swept over Nantucket Wednesday night, shaking houses and rattling the nerves of island residents in mid-island neighborhoods and areas of the south shore.

The incident was reported around 9:45 p.m. Wednesday night by many island residents who took to social-media sites to describe the loud noise that shook their homes and ask if others had experienced the same thing.

While the suspected culprit is a military aircraft that broke the sound barrier over the island, there was no definitive confirmation of the specific source of the noise.

Nantucket Memorial Airport tower manager Patrick Topham stated in a message "we have no confirmation as to what caused it at this point. We have to assume that it was a sonic boom caused by a military aircraft."

Nantucket police lieutenant Jerry Adams stated the source of the noise was a "sonic jet."

A similar incident occurred several months ago on the evening of Wednesday, March 21, when Nantucket residents reported a loud noise that shook houses.

Comment: A sonic boom from a military jet does not cause houses to shake...


Meteor strike: Investigating a cosmic crime scene

© YoutubeA meteorite causes panic as it falls in the Ural Mountains region of Russia, Feb. 2013.
A new video tells the tale of an unlikely bit of astronomical forensics.

Is there anything sneakier than an asteroid? They run silent, run deep and run very, very fast - hurtling toward Earth from any point in the vast bowl of the sky at speeds that can exceed 40,000 mph (64,000 k/h). They typically whiz right past us or plunge harmlessly and spectacularly into the atmosphere, burning up before they hit the ground - unless, of course, they explode in the sky or collide with the surface, leaving a massive footprint of destruction for miles around.

Asteroids - or, in their atmospheric incarnations, meteors or meteorites - don't do that kind of damage very often anymore, perhaps once every 70 to 100 years on average.

Comment: This may change very soon, as Earth is facing an imminent cosmic threat.

But when they do, they can spell big trouble. You could ask the folks living in the Tunguska region of Russia in 1908, where a 330 ft. (100 m) rock exploded in the sky one morning, flattening trees in an 830 sq. mi. (2,150 sq. km) radius. You could ask the dinosaurs - if they weren't all dead of course, thanks to a 6 mi. (10 km) rock that struck off the Yucatan 65 million years ago, throwing up a sky darkening debris screen that made the planet too cold for them to survive.

Fireball 5

Narrow escape for British family after red-hot sulphuric meteorites rain down on their Shrewsbury garden

© Yahoo!News/SWNSSarah Marston-Jones shows off some of the inch-wide fragments which landed in her garden.
A mother-of-two told how her young children had a lucky escape - after fragments from a meteor shower rained down in their back garden.

Sarah Marston-Jones was playing outside with Harry, two, and Benjamin, four, when asteroid rocks fell behind her house in Shrewsbury.

The teacher heard a large 'whooshing' sound and a 'cracking' noise as 15 rocks from the meteorite shower blazed through the earth's atmosphere and onto her lawn at 9.30am on Tuesday.

She was forced to rush her two young children off their trampoline to safety indoors as brown and black fragments showered down just inches from where they were playing.

The red-hot rocks, some of which were more than an inch wide, even left a strong burning smell in the family's Shropshire garden.

Comment: Officially, meteorites are not supposed to be red-hot when they hit the ground. So much for experts...