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Fireballs

Meteor

Mystery of Green Fireball 'UFOs' Solved?

Image
© Courier Mail / Channel 9 TV
Green fireballs seen in the Australian sky were captured in photos, this one taken by a member of the public in Brisbane.
Green fireballs that streaked across the sky and rolled down an Australian mountainside four years ago, spurring reports of UFOs in the area, might have been meteors and ball lightning, a researcher suggests.

At least three traffic-light green fireballs brighter than the moon but not as bright as the sun blazed over northeast Australia on May 16, 2006. A farmer saw one with a blue tapering tail pass over the mountains of the Great Divide about 75 miles (120 kilometers) west of Brisbane, then watched a phosphorescent green ball about 12 inches wide (30 centimeters) roll slowly down the side of a mountain, bouncing over a rock along the way.

Green fireballs have been seen many times in the sky, and are typically explained as meteors whose shockwaves lead to electrically charged oxygen similar to that seen in auroras. In fact, a commercial airline pilot who landed in New Zealand that day reported seeing a meteor breaking up into fragments, which turned green as the bits descended in the direction of Australia. The timing of the fireballs suggests they might have been debris from Comet 73P/Schwassmann - Wachmann 3, said physicist Stephen Hughes at the Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane.

Comment: The reader may enjoy a more in-depth look at fireballs: Meteorites, Asteroids, and Comets: Damages, Disasters, Injuries, Deaths, and Very Close Calls


Meteor

Canada: Activity In The Skies Over Cranbrook

Did a meteorite fly over Cranbrook Wednesday night? Local resident Jennifer Doering is sure one did because she saw it around 9:45 p.m. and even saw it explode as it came close to earth.

Doering and her boyfriend were driving in their car when their attention was suddenly drawn to a bright light high overhead between the Highcrest Trailer court and Kootenay Orchards Elementary School.

"All of a sudden I could see this bright, bright light. It was like white lightning and it was really wide. Then it blew apart and it went more into a red, orangey colour and it appeared to land somewhere."

The pair drove around to see if they could find remnants of the exploded meteorite, which appeared to come down in the 10th Street and 14th Avenue area not too far from Parkland Middle School. But no remnants or extra-terrestrial material was found leaving Doering wondering what she really saw.

"It was as low as a helicopter would go. That's why it had to land somewhere in town."

RCMP spokesman Eric Ausman said no calls about meteorites or other unidentified flying objects were received at the detachment the night Doering saw the meteorite. Ausman said he was out walking his dog the same night not far from where Doering saw the space object, but he saw nothing unusual at all.

Meteor

Update: Amateur astronomer in Georgia snaps picture of what may be a meteor

A meteor hurtling through the atmosphere faster than the speed of sound likely caused the sonic boom that startled many north Louisiana residents late Monday afternoon.

The apparent sonic boom happened just before 5 p.m. and affected the area southwest of Shreveport to around Vidalia.

Experts had suggested Tuesday the sonic boom could have been caused by high-speed aircraft or a meteor.

Lawrenceville, Ga. resident David Jones was driving on Interstate 85 in Atlanta early Monday night when he noticed a large, electric blue ring-shaped cloud in the western sky.

The amateur astronomer and lifelong weather watcher snapped a photo of the noctilucent cloud that likely formed when water molecules surrounded meteor dust particles stirred up when a meteor moved through the atmosphere.

Noctilucent clouds are rare and typically only form in polar regions.

Comment: This is an update to an earlier story.


Meteor

Meteor seen from Hungary and Czech Republic probably exploded over Slovakia


This morning people from many parts of Slovakia are asking the question: What caused the mysterious glow registered on Sunday night just before midnight?

"Just before midnight I noticed a loud noise which words cannot describe. I saw the glow in the window. The whole event lasted about 5-6 seconds, but it was something extraordinary," we were informed by a reader from Tornale. The so far unexplained event had been noticed in Rožňava near Košice and even in Hungary. Some thought it looked like fireworks, others were afraid that an explosion in some factory happened.

"I saw a bright light. I thought it was just lightning, but I didn't hear the thunder. Even more so it was snowing at the time, that is why I thought it was odd," was the reaction of a female student from Východna.

Fireball 2

Pelham Abuzz Over Booms in the Night

Bang! And then silence. No wreckage, no clouds, no conflagration in the neighborhood. Just a lingering mystery.

It's been the talk of the town for weeks now -- the boom.

Bill McDevitt may never find out what caused the terrific clap of noise that startled him from bed in the early morning hours about three weeks ago.

"It wasn't just a distant rumble. It sounded like lightning hit across the street. It was a sudden, loud, explosive bang," he said. "You get up and go look out the windows and you expect to see smoke or flames coming from the woods or somebody else's house, but I didn't."

McDevitt is just one of many north Pelham residents left wondering what's behind the blasts out of the blue. In the days following the first incidents, the town's online message board lit up with people swapping stories and cultivating theories.

Jill Atkinson, awoken by the same bang as McDevitt, thought her neighbor's home exploded. She expected to hear the approaching howl of sirens as she peered through her windows.

Meteor

California teacher reports fireball sighting

Doug Peltz, a science teacher at LePort Upper Elementary & Jr. High, says he saw a bright fireball (meteor) Sunday night from Irvine and is wondering whether others saw the same thing. He's reported the sighting to Orange County Astronomers, one of the country's largest amateur astronomy groups. (Numerous other readers say they saw something. Check Comments below.)

Peltz said in an email that, "At 9:39 p.m. (Sunday, Jan. 10), from East Irvine (Portola Springs), I just witnessed the brightest fireball I've ever seen! It lit up the whole sky, such that my wife at first thought it was lightning.

"Definitely bright blue in color, and it streaked from between Castor & Pollux (Gemini) and Mars. Tracing the path backwards, it seemed to me that its radiant point was perhaps the constellation Auriga. I even heard a crackling sound as it streaked.

Fireball 5

When Meteors Explode: Full Account of a Wild Chicago Night

You might think meteor expert Steven Simon knew exactly what was happening one evening when the skies over his home were lit up by an exploding, 2,000-pound space rock bigger than a refrigerator. But it was only the next day, when nearby residents brought him chunks of the extraterrestrial visitor that had landed in the street and punched through their roofs, that Simon began to understand the true nature of the frightening event.

Now after a year of study, the University of Chicago researcher has helped produce a full account of the giant rock that tore through the atmosphere at 54 times the speed of sound.

Simon was in his Park Forest home about 30 miles south of Chicago with the drapes drawn near midnight on March 26, 2003.

"I saw the flash, and although it lasted longer than a lightning flash, that's what I thought it was," he told SPACE.com last week. "I knew it had rained that night, and thought maybe it was multiple flashes, perhaps diffused by the clouds."

Fireball 2

Meteor believed to have caused bright flash and loud 'thunder' on Sunday

Keen observers of weather might have noticed something odd about the flash of light and the subsequent loud rumble at around 10 o'clock on Sunday night - something that might have tipped them off that it wasn't just thunder and lightning.

A spokesman for the U.S. Naval Observatory said the official belief now is that the brilliant flash, dimmed substantially on the East End by the thick cloud cover, and the very loud and sustained rumble that followed half a minute or more later were actually caused by a large meteor, called a bolide, or fireball, streaking through the earth's atmosphere and bursting apart.

"We were sitting watching television ... and from where I was sitting I could see a bit of light," said Al Marino, who lives with his wife, Eve, in the Northwest Woods section of East Hampton. "Then there was a rumbling, not a boom at first, and then -

boom!

Meteor

Mysterious Sky Flashes Puzzle Pennsylvania Observers

Between 8 and 8:30 p.m. on the night of October 26, 2008, residents in Westmoreland County, southeast of Pittsburgh, reported observing an odd brilliant light show in the sky, which some observers felt was not related to thunderstorm activity. I also have received observation reports from as far away as Somerset County in Pennsylvania, and into Ohio.

The first reports I received were from the Mount Pleasant Township area. Later reports came in from various other areas of Westmoreland County, including North Huntingdon Township, Greensburg and Latrobe.

The initial reports from Mount Pleasant Township, described an intense flash of white light which lit up the sky in all directions. The flash lasted only a fraction of a second. Observers felt certain that this was no lightning bolt. The exact position of where the flash was originating from could not be determined since all sections of the sky were illuminated.

The sky was very clear and full of stars. There was absolutely no thunder or other sound heard at the time.

Meteor

Edmonton, Canada: Mysterious fireball lights up night sky

Numerous people living in Edmonton and surrounding areas are reporting seeing a meteorite-like fireball that lit up the sky.

It not been confirmed as a meteor by official sources, but many witnesses report seeing "bright orange flames" with a large tail that shot horizontally across the sky and then disappeared.

Others said it looked like horizontal lightning, where all the clouds in one huge swath were lit up.