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Tue, 22 May 2018
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Loud, mystery boom rattles residents in southern Maine

Loud boom heard in Kennebunk, Maine
© visitthekennebunks.com
Residents in parts of Kennebunk, Kennebunkport and Arundel were left startled and baffled earlier this week when what was described as a loud boom was heard and felt across the area on two occasions, with no one able to pinpoint the cause.

Word of the mystery boom spread across Facebook Monday evening around 9 p.m. and again Wednesday around the same time.

People took to social media asking "Did anyone hear that? What was it?" Speculation ranged from thunder snow to a sonic boom, or a blown electrical transformer.

"I can't believe it was thunder. This was felt and heard from Cape Porpoise to Waterboro. Then two series of popping noises like semi-automatic gun fire," Kennebunk resident Wendy Lank said. "It was so loud, it really made me uneasy."

Fireball

'Meteor' car commercial at the right time!

Meteor Commercial
© YouTube Screen shot
This commercial, which came out about a week and a half ago, has plenty to laugh about.

The joke, of course, is that this sucker is so roomy you can fit more than what you'd first grab fleeing your home if, says, a meteor was about to strike.

The secondary joke is that Americans have become so materialistic that they'd go back for seconds and thirds if they felt they could.

What makes it funniest, though, is it must have turned a few heads given the way a giant fireball streaked across the Michigan sky last week.

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Bright meteor fireball over the US Midwest seen as far south as Alabama

Fireball over the Midwest
Did you see it?

A fireball lit up the sky over Tennessee and North Alabama Thursday evening, January 18th. Dr. Bill Cooke from NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office tells us it was actually high above Missouri and still bright enough to be seen as far away as Florence, Alabama and Franklin County, Tennessee.

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Russia, Canada, Northern European countries identified as prime targets for Earth-bound meteorites

Meteor streaks over Novi Travink
© Dado Ruvic/Reuters
A meteor streaks over the sky during the Perseid meteor shower at the Maculje archaeological site near Novi Travnik August 12, 2014.
Russia, Canada, and Northern European countries are the primary targets for asteroids and meteorites falling to Earth, Columbian scientists have found. But don't get packing just yet, because nowhere is really safe.

Scientists Jorge Zuluaga and Mario Sucerquia from the University of Antioquia in Medellin (Colombia), analyzed the probability of a space rock falling in different regions of the Earth using a process called "Gravitational Ray Tracing" (GRT).

The fact that the Tunguska and Chelyabinsk meteorites, over a century apart in time, were only separated by 2,300 kilometers (some 1,400 miles), led the Colombian physicists to conclude that some regions of our planet are more prone to this danger than others.

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Michigan Meteor Event: Fireball Numbers Increased Again in 2017

meteor fireball michigan

Still from a dash-cam video of the meteor fireball event over Michigan, 16 January 2018.
Another major meteor fireball event occurred in the US earlier this week. Shortly after 8pm on Tuesday evening, a bolide estimated to have been up to three meters in diameter blazed across southern Michigan before exploding somewhere high above Detroit. Though brief, the meteor caused a blinding light that briefly turned night into day across metropolitan Detroit, most of Michigan, and was seen as far away as Des Moines, Iowa and Toronto, Canada.

This one was a little different than the 'regular' fireball events occurring globally these days: people across southern Michigan also heard a powerful boom that arrived about three minutes after the white-out, and the event even registered as a magnitude 2.0 earthquake on local seismographs.

Fireball 5

Meteor fireball lights up night sky over Michigan; USGS registers impact as M2.0 earthquake - fragments found (UPDATE, PHOTOS)

Meteor over Michigan
© Mike Austin/YouTube
Residents in several cities across Michigan reported seeing a bright and colorful flash travel through the sky before hearing a loud boom. The US Department of Homeland Security confirmed that it was a meteor fireball.

Numerous videos recorded by security cameras and dashcams in the Metro-Detroit area and surrounding cities Tuesday night show a flash of bright light zooming across the sky, instantly turning night into day for an instant.


Comment: UPDATE: Wed, 17 Jan. 2018 (18.15 CET)

USGS has registered this event as a M2.0 earthquake with the epicenter at New Haven, just north of Detroit in Michigan.
Meteorite seen and heard in Detroit area. Location is approximate. The magnitude reported for this meteor cannot be directly used to compare its size to an earthquake because the source of the seismic signals are different.
The American Meteor Society (AMS) has received almost 400 reports of the event. The flashing light and loud boom felt across Michigan and seen as far away as New York City and parts of Canada on Tuesday night was a meteoroid entering the atmosphere, according to NASA.

A post on the NASA Meteor Watch Facebook page, said the meteoroid traveled northwest from the Brighton area to the Howell area, citing the American Meteor Society's website. The 1 a.m. post read:
"Our analysis yields a similar result, and we have calculated that this was a very slow moving meteor - speed of about 28,000 miles per hour,"

"This fact, combined with the brightness of the meteor (which suggests a fairly big space rock at least a yard across), shows that the object penetrated deep into the atmosphere before it broke apart (which produced the sounds heard by many observers). It is likely that there are meteorites on the ground near this region - one of our colleagues has found a Doppler weather radar signature characteristic of meteoritic material falling to earth."


UPDATE: Sat, 20th Jan. 2018

The Daily Mail reports meteorite hunters have found fragments:
Meteorite hunters who flocked to Detroit from across the U.S. after a meteor exploded are finding the fragments.

Most of the fragments landed in Hamburg Township.

meteor michigan found fragments longway planetarium
The first fragments were located Thursday by professional hunters Larry Atkins and Robert Ward of Arizona, according to the American Meteor Society.
WHAT IS A METEOROID

A meteoroid is a small chunk of asteroid or comet.

When it enters Earth's atmosphere it becomes a meteor, fireball or shooting star.

The pieces of rock that hit the ground are meteorites, and are valuable to collectors.

The remnants must be analyzed by a lab to be accredited as meteorites.
Atkins owns Cosmic Connection Meteorites, while Ward operates Robert Ward Meteorites.

'It's a really spectacular specimen,' Ward said while holding one of the meteorites.

'Two days ago, this was hundreds of thousands of miles past the moon, and now I'm standing here holding it in my hand.

'It's been a real good day.'
meteor meteroid michigan fragments found
Ward said he used seismic data, Doppler radar and witness information to narrow down where to search.

Meteorite hunters seek permission from landowners before searching on their property, Ward said.

Ward estimates he's collected about 600 meteorites from around the world over the years.

Longway Planetarium astronomers have also located three meteorites that'll be displayed Friday.
michigan meteor meteoroid fragment found

Darryl Pitt, a New York City resident and meteorite consultant to Christie's auction house, is offering $20,000 for a recovered fragment weighing at least 1 kilogram.

'I want to motivate more people to look,' Pitt said.

'Meteorites are extraordinarily rare and the world is just coming to terms with how special they are.'



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Where can you find chunks of the meteor that blew up over Michigan?

Meteor over Michigan
© Mike Austin/YouTube
Reports have the meteor that streaked across southeast Michigan Tuesday night re-entering the atmosphere somewhere in Macomb County, with some pinpointing it to the area near 25 Mile Road and Card.

Phones at police stations and in newsrooms - including WWJ's - lit up with questions and concerns. Some joked that it was an extraterrestrial visitor, others worried a bomb had exploded.

Wolverine Lake Police Chief John Ellsworth was so shaken by the electricity he felt in the air followed by a blinding flash that he told WWJ he thought it was the 'beginning of the end.'

Comment: See also: Meteor fireball lights up night sky over Michigan; USGS registers impact as M2.0 earthquake (UPDATE)


Fireball 4

Albertans report meteor fireball over the province

Fireball over Alberta
© Global News
Dozens of Albertans took to social media Wednesday evening to report seeing a large fireball in the sky over northern parts of the province.

Corbet Kratko was driving near the intersection of Highway 21 and Westpark Boulevard in Fort Saskatchewan when he said he saw the bright light descending through the sky.


The maintenance inspector with Alberta Transportation captured video of what appears to be a falling fireball on his vehicle's dash-cam at approximately 5:21 p.m.

Witness Rogan Hennie told CBC News he was driving north near Lacombe, Alta., around the same time when he saw what he described as "a meteor" in the sky.

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Second meteor fireball flashes over Ohio

Meteor over Ohio
© ABC13
More fireball reports flooded in just before midnight Wednesday night. Several dozen reports came into the American Meteor Society around 11:50pm EST. Reports centered over Indiana, but went as far south as Nashville, TN and as far north as west central Michigan. Toledo seems to be on the edge of the observations, while reports were as far west as Chicago.

The fireball was not as bright as Tuesday night's meteor, and a sonic boom was not observed. The white flash was observed on the west side of Toledo, and the reports were more numerous closer to Fort Wayne, IN. We will have more information as it becomes available.

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Incoming: Massive house-sized asteroid will fly close to Earth next week

Asteroid
© YouTube
Unlike that false alarm in Hawaii, this potentially cataclysmic piece of news is real: an asteroid between 22 and 68 meters in diameter is going to swing past Earth on January 23 at around 12,300 miles an hour (around Mach 16). It's going to come within 1.1 million miles of Earth, but it's unclear whether its trajectory will cause it to hit Earth or fly past harmlessly.

The asteroid, named 2018 AJ, is just one of several asteroids that have suddenly popped up on NASA's radar without warning-the last one was 2017 YD7, which was spotted December 28 and flew past Earth on January 3.

The scary thing about these rocks is that once we spotted them, there's very little we can do to stop them: according to NASA's Planetary Defense Coordination Office, we'd need a few decades of advance warning to deal with an asteroid 100 meters in size or larger. From there, a couple options open up, including knocking the asteroid off course with a "kinetic impactor" or using a "gravity tractor" to change its trajectory.