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Fireballs

Comet

Alabama overhead explosion caused sonic boom and 'came from unknown comet'

Image

The meteor, traveling at about 76,000 mph, exploded about 25 miles above Woodstock, Alabama.
A baseball-sized meteor blasted over the southeastern United States on Monday night, creating a bright streak of light, a sonic boom and a ruckus on Twitter, officials said on Tuesday.

The meteor appeared at 9:18 p.m. EDT over Alabama, traveling at about 76,000 mph. It exploded 25 miles above Woodstock, Alabama, located about 30 miles from Birmingham.

"Objects of this size hit the Earth's atmosphere on a daily basis, but this one happened near Birmingham, which is a fairly decently sized city and lot of people saw it," Bill Cooke, head of NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, told Reuters.

Many of the more than 180 eyewitness reports came from people attending a Mumford & Sons concert in Birmingham.

"This one wasn't at 2 in the morning, so a lot of people were out and about," Cooke said.

"I saw what I first thought was a falling star and then it turned bright green," an observer from Anniston, Alabama, posted on the American Meteor Society website.

Comet 2

Balloon sent to edge of atmosphere picks up organisms 'that can only have come from space'

Image
© Reuters
Professor Wickramasinghe, 74, and his team from the University of Sheffield sent a specially designed balloon into the atmoshphere during the annual Perseid meteor shower last month in August
British scientists believe they have found evidence alien life after sending a balloon to the edge of space. The team of scientists sent a balloon 27km into the stratosphere and captured small biological organisms they say can only have come from space. The group, headed up by astrobiologist Professor Chandra Wickramasinghe, claims the 'seeds of life' have been transported between planets by passing meteors.

Professor Wickramasinghe, 74, and his team from the University of Sheffield sent a specially designed balloon into the atmosphere above Chester during the annual Perseid meteor shower. The balloon was carrying sterile microscope slides which were only exposed to the atmosphere at heights of 27km.

When the balloon fell back down to Earth the scientists discovered microscopic aquatic algae on the microscope slides - which they say can only be alien life forms.

Fireball 4

Huge asteroid 324 Bamberga makes a return visit to Earth's neighborhood on Friday the 13th

Asteroid Bamberga_1
© Created by thAuthor using Starry Night Education software
The path of 324 Bamberga through Pisces from September 8th to October 10th.
This week offers a fine chance to catch sight of a unique asteroid.

324 Bamberga reaches opposition this week in the constellation Pisces on (friggatriskaidekaphobics take note) Friday the 13th at 2PM EDT/16:00 Universal Time.

About 230 kilometres in size, 324 Bamberga reaches 0.81 astronomical units from the Earth this week. No other asteroid so large gets so close. Discovered on February 25th, 1892 by Johann Palisa, 324 Bamberga only reaches a favorable opposition once every 22 years.

Shining at magnitude +8.1, 324 Bamberga is also one of the highest numbered asteroids visible with binoculars. Earth-crossing asteroids 433 Eros, which made a close pass last year, and 4179 Toutatis are two of the very few asteroids that possess a larger number designations that can regularly reach +10th magnitude.

Fireball 2

Second meteor explosion over Ferrara, Italy, within two days

A first meteorite exploded in the sky of Ferrara Italy on September 3 2013. Two days after, this one was filmed by the exact same cameras.


The images were shot at 10:11 pm on September 5, 2013 west of Ferrara, Italy.

Comment: See also Massive fireball causes overhead explosion in Italy 3 September-2013


Fireball 4

Green fireball seen over eastern U.S. coast

fireball
© Peter O Connell / Twitter
What in the world was that?

People tweeting about a green light "falling" from the sky Wednesday don't have the slightest clue.

But according to Geoff Chester, of the U.S. Naval Observatory, the celestial display was a rock, "probably something about the size of a basketball," entering the Earth's atmosphere at a speed in excess of 40 miles per second.

"Friction with the Earth's atmosphere causes the characteristic greenish glow," he says.

The light was seen by people up and down the Eastern Seaboard late Wednesday evening.

Chester says these "fireballs" occur almost daily, but aren't always reported because 70 percent of the planet's surface is covered in water and because most of the world's people reside near coast lines.

Obviously, since this light was visible to the East Coast of the U.S., plenty of people spotted it.

Fireball 5

Small asteroid explodes over Georgia-Tennessee border: Fireball was 20 times brighter than Moon


The space rock was about 2 feet in diameter and weighed more than 100 pounds. When it hit the Earth's atmosphere last week, it shone, briefly, 20 times brighter than the moon.

NASA's cameras captured the meteor as it zipped over the Southeast United States on Wednesday. In the video above, you can watch as it comes soaring through the sky and explodes in a flash of light.

The steady orb of light in the left of the frame is the moon.

Fireball 5

Did ancient Earth-chilling meteor crash near Canada?

Impact Event
© Mukul Sharma
The high temperatures of the meteorite impact 12,900 years ago produced mm-sized spherules of melted glass with the mullite and corundum crystal structure shown here.
A meteor or comet impact near Quebec heaved a rain of hot melted rock along North America's Atlantic Coast about 12,900 years ago, a new study claims.

Scientists have traced the geochemical signature of the BB-sized spherules that rained down back to their source, the 1.5-billion-year-old Quebecia terrane in northeastern Canada near the Gulf of Saint Lawrence.

At the time of the impact, the region was covered by a continental ice sheet, like Antarctica and Greenland are today.

"We have provided evidence for an impact on top of the ice sheet," said study co-author Mukul Sharma, a geochemist at Dartmouth College in Hanover, N.H. The results were published today (Sept. 2) in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Fireball

Fireball in Russia's Far East puzzles sky-watchers

Vladivostok Bay Fireball
© cheslav.livejournal.com
Witnesses in Russia's Far East were astounded to see a spectacular burning object break up in the sky near Vladivostok. Though bloggers hailed it as a "meteor," scientists are skeptical.

Photos and videos of the object posted online have provoked a debate on Russian social networks, with various ideas offered for what it might be.

"I was sitting in my car. I did not start taking pictures immediately - first I did not pay attention. It was flying soundless," said one Internet user, who posted several photos of the event.

Comment: We have heard the bogus linking of meteors to rocket launches before:

Spectacular Russian rocket launch - more evidence of comet dust loading our atmosphere


Fireball 5

Fireball seen from Texas and New Mexico, 25 August 2013 - Caught on camera





Initial Meteor Sighting Reports


25 August 2013 - Denise Totah, Lubbock, Texas 5:00 a.m.
5 maybe 10 seconds duration, travelling from west to east, my right to left. I was facing west. I thought it was a flash of lightning at first. I turned to look up and saw this big flash of light and it looked like it had 2 contrails at the end. I thought that maybe a plane had exploded, but there was no sound. It was a little brighter than the moon. It looked like 2 trails coming from it after it started disappearing. I didn't get a picture, I just know that the flash was bright enough to make me look up to the sky cause I thought it was lightning.
Thomas Ashcraft - Heliotown - New Mexico writes,
"Did anyone catch a large fireball on Aug 25 2013 at 0954:50 UT in the west Texas- eastern New Mexico vicinity? (0354:50 am MDT / 0454:50 am CDT) I caught a flash behind clouds which might have come from over the horizon in which case this fireball would have been deeper into north central Texas. It should show on space fence radar for Texas observers. It made a 30 second radio reflection at 217 MHz and a two minute reflection on tv forward scatter frequencies."
Sue Davis said...
I saw something go across the sky and catch on fire and slow down to almost a stop as it seemingly entered our atmosphere.. then it shot across sky and seemed to disappear... never seen anything like that. It was witnessed at 1:39 a.m. August 25, 2013 in Brazoria County Texas right outside of the town Angleton.

Fireball

Massive meteor lights up night sky in Southeastern U.S., 28 August 2013 - Brightest fireball observed by NASA in 5 years, loud sonic booms reported


NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office has upgraded its estimates of a major fireball that exploded over the southeastern USA on August 28th. Lead researcher Bill Cooke says " the fireball reached a peak magnitude of -13, brighter than a Full Moon, and cast shadows on the ground. This indicates that the meteoroid had a mass of over 50 kg (110 lbs) and was about 40 cm (16 inches) in diameter. It hit the top of Earth's atmosphere traveling 23.7 km/s (53,000 mph)."

"As far as I know, this is the brightest event our network has observed in 5 years of operation," he continues. "There are reports of sonic booms reaching the ground, and data from 4 doppler radars indicate that some meteorites may have fallen along the fireball's ground track." (Note: The city in the ground track map is Cleveland, Tennessee, not Cleveland, Ohio.)

Using data from multiple cameras, Cooke has calculated a preliminary orbit for the meteoroid. The shape and dimensions of the orbit are similar those of a Jupiter-family comet. If meteorites are recovered from the Tennessee countryside, their chemical composition will tell researchers more about the origin of the fireball.