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Fri, 22 Feb 2019
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Fireballs

Fireball 5

Bright and slow meteor fireball filmed over Spain on Dec. 2

Fireball - stock image

Fireball (stock image)
This bright and slow meteor event was recorded over Spain on 2018 December 2, at 4:46 local time (3:46 universal time).

It was produced by a fragment from an asteroid that hit the atmosphere at about 50.000 km/h.

The fireball began at an altitude of around 81 km, and ended at a height of about 36 km.

It was recorded by the meteor observing stations operating in the framework of the SMART Project from the astronomical observatories of Sevilla, La Hita (Toledo), and La Sagra (Granada).


Meteor

Meteorite that fell in Madagascar came from early solar system

Meteorite found in Benenitra, Madagascar
© Wits University
A fragment of the Benenitra meteorite showing the black fusion crust and thumbprint-like depressions (called regmaglypts) that offered early evidence that this rock came from space. These features formed by melting during its entry into the atmosphere.
Four months ago, people in a small Madagascar town caught sight of a fireball shooting across the early-evening sky. Its boom was so loud, the ground shook.

A search for pieces of this celestial visitor soon followed. Researchers stitched together eyewitness accounts to help them understand what came down from the heavens on July 27.

What people saw crashing down, according to this detective work, was an ancient, 4.5 billion-year-old meteor from the early solar system.

This space rock is now called Benenitra, named after the small town in southwestern Madagascar where it landed. Fortunately, Benenitra rock fragments appear to have missed any people or buildings, according to a Nov. 26 statement about the findings.

Fireball 2

Meteor fireball streaks over Toronto

Toronto meteor
© CNTower/Earthcam (screen capture)
Meteor can be seen at the top of the photo, as captured by the CN Tower
If you looked up and saw what appeared to be a fireball in Toronto's skies last night wasn't Santa making his way to the city, it was a meteor.

Many Torontonians saw the meteor in above Toronto around 9:15 pm on Thursday night, and there are up to 33 reports so far listed through the American Meteor Society.

Scott Sutherland of the Weather Network also tweeted about the meteor, sharing a video captured from the CN Tower's camera, encouraging those who saw it to report it to the AMS. And Sutherland wasn't the only one who tweeted about the fireball in the sky.


Meteor

Cameras installed across Alberta, Canada to find meteorites

Alberta, Canada meteor cameras
© CTV
Four high-tech cameras were installed in Alberta as part of a world-wide network to find meteorites quicker.

The cameras are part of the Australia-based Desert Fireball Network (DFN), which now has 50 cameras across the world to track meteorites.

"If you have a bunch of cameras and you see something coming through the atmosphere, a fireball, but you see it from different angles, you can work out exactly its orientation," DFN's Phil Bland said.

The cameras give researchers a three-kilometre ratio of where the meteor landed.

Before this technology, people would see a fireball soar across the sky, but have no idea where it landed.


Fireball

Meteor fireball seen in sky from San Diego to Los Angeles

Flash of light in California sky
© Robb Webb
A mysterious flash of light, described by some as an explosion, was spotted in the skies over Southern California Tuesday morning, KTLA reported.

There was no immediate word from officials on what may have caused the flash, but it was seen by many people who took to social media to search for answers.

"Did anyone else see an explosion in the sky?? The best way I can describe it," Mallory Guillen from Victor Valley posted on Facebook about 4:20 a.m.

Robb Webb posted a photo of what he saw over the Los Angeles area on Twitter.

"Definitely saw 2 streaks of light in the sky this morning on Vern's dog walk. Managed to snap a pic of the 2nd one, right next to a plane," @ROBBWEBB3 posted.


Comment: YouTuber 'nannigoog' captured video footage of the fireball:




Meteor

Bronze Age civilization collapse: Massive overhead meteor explosion wiped out Near East 3,700 years ago

Jordan meteor calamity
© FIGHTBEGIN/ISTOCK.COM
ANCIENT WIPEOUT Preliminary evidence indicates that a low-altitude meteor explosion around 3,700 years ago destroyed cities, villages and farmland north of the Dead Sea (shown in the background above) rendering the region uninhabitable for 600 to 700 years.

Archaeologists at a site in what's now Jordan have found evidence of a cosmic calamity


A superheated blast from the skies obliterated cities and farming settlements north of the Dead Sea around 3,700 years ago, preliminary findings suggest.

Radiocarbon dating and unearthed minerals that instantly crystallized at high temperatures indicate that a massive airburst caused by a meteor that exploded in the atmosphere instantaneously destroyed civilization in a 25-kilometer-wide circular plain called Middle Ghor, said archaeologist Phillip Silvia. The event also pushed a bubbling brine of Dead Sea salts over once-fertile farm land, Silvia and his colleagues suspect.

People did not return to the region for 600 to 700 years, said Silvia, of Trinity Southwest University in Albuquerque. He reported these findings at the annual meeting of the American Schools of Oriental Research on November 17.

via GIPHY

Comment: See also: Comets and the Bronze Age Collapse

For more information on the role of cometary bombardment in the cycles of civilization, read The Apocalypse: Comets, Asteroids and Cyclical Catastrophes by Laura Knight-Jadczyk.


Question

People in southern Alabama report loud booming noise

Boom over Alabama
© WKRG
News 5 is getting reports of a loud boom over Mobile County. Mobile Fire even responded to a call of a possible explosion, but found nothing. From reports to our newsroom the boom was heard in Mobile and Grand Bay, Semmes, Daphne and other areas.

The most plausible explanation is a sonic boom from a military jet since there are many along the Gulf Coast.

NASA also said on Twitter it was conducting supersonic tests near Galveston Texas

There was however a Space-X rocket launch about the same time. It's not clear that's what everyone was hearing. Some of the reports into our newsroom would coincide with that time, but others were much earlier. The rocket launch was about 2:46 Central time according to Space-X's YouTube channel.

Fireball 2

Blue meteor fireball streaks over Texas, sonic boom reported

Texas meteor fireball
© K. Palivec, AMS
Texas is fully living up to shining "big and bright" after it appears a meteor streaked across the sky Thursday night.

In the Killeen area, video from Christopher Cato shows the burst of light caught on his dash camera as it traveled through the atmosphere.

Others in central Texas said they heard a loud boom.

One woman in Hempstead told ABC13 meteorologist Travis Herzog she spotted the blue flash, which bloomed into a turquoise jewel tone as it raced across the night sky.

Viewer Mary Ann Miron reported that she saw something unusual explode in the sky around 9:30 p.m. west of Highway 6 on FM 1736.

"A giant ball like a meteorite changed the rainbow spectrum of colors until it turned into a beautiful turquoise," Miron said. "I've seen shooting stars, but this was HUGE and colorful!"


Question

Kaboom! Residents report loud boom in Natchez, Mississippi

Mystery boom in Natchez, MS
© fairviewinn.com
Several residents of downtown Natchez said they heard a loud boom noise in the area at approximately 11 p.m. Tuesday.

"Did anyone else hear that super loud noise downtown Natchez?!" Sarah Lindsey Laukhuff posted on social media Tuesday night not long after she said she heard the noise.

Laukhuff's social media post generated several responses with a few people commenting saying they also had heard the noise.

"People said it could have been a transformer," Laukhuff said Wednesday afternoon. "I heard it. It was one big kaboom!"

Laukhuff, who lives on South Commerce Street, said some of her neighbors called her last night saying they had heard the noise, too.

Info

Giant impact crater found under Greenland ice, possibly 12,000 years old - UPDATE

Greenland impact crater
© Kjær, et al
The Greenland impact crater, superimposed over Paris.
Scientists have discovered a crater beneath Greenland's Hiawatha Glacier that they say could be one of the 25 largest impact structures on Earth.

It's a 31-kilometre-wide circular bedrock depression up to a kilometre below the ice and was likely caused by a fractionated iron asteroid about a kilometre wide.

Its impact would have had substantial environmental consequences in the Northern Hemisphere and perhaps even more widely, say the researchers, led by led by Kurt Kjær from the University of Copenhagen, Denmark.

The crater is the only one of its size that retains a significant portion of its original surface topography.


Comment: The Guardian reports a few more intriguing details:
Crater appears to be result of mile-wide iron meteorite just 12,000 years ago

Nasa/Cryospheric Sciences Lab/Natural History Museum of Denmark

An illustration of the ice-filled crater discovered in Greenland.
A huge impact crater has been discovered under a half-mile-thick Greenland ice sheet.

The enormous bowl-shaped dent appears to be the result of a mile-wide iron meteorite slamming into the island at a speed of 12 miles per second as recently as 12,000 years ago.

The impact of the 10bn-tonne space rock would have unleashed 47m times the energy of the Little Boy nuclear bomb dropped on Hiroshima in 1945. It would have melted vast amounts of ice, sending freshwater rushing into the oceans, and blasted rocky debris high into the atmosphere.

At 19.3 miles wide, the crater ranks among the 25 largest known on Earth and is the first to be found beneath an ice sheet.

"You have to go back 40 million years to find a crater of the same size, so this is a rare, rare occurrence in Earth's history," said Kurt Kjær, of the Natural History Museum of Denmark in Copenhagen.

Scientists first suspected a crater in 2015 when they spotted a huge depression in Nasa radar images of the bedrock beneath the Hiawatha glacier in north-west Greenland. Kjær, who passes a 20-tonne meteorite to reach his office every day, wondered if such a space rock might be the culprit. "It all snowballed from there," said Joseph MacGregor, a senior scientist on the team at Nasa's Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland.

greenland crater
It so happened that researchers at the Alfred Wegener Institute in Germany were about to test a powerful new ice-penetrating radar system that was operated from the air. In May 2016 the scientists flew over the Hiawatha glacier and used the radar to map the underlying rock in unparalleled detail.

The images revealed all the hallmarks of an impact crater. "It became very clear that this was a circular feature with a rim around it and an elevated central region," said Kjær. The basin itself was more than 300 metres deep, according to a report in the journal Science Advances.

To search for solid proof of an impact, the researchers flew out to the glacier and collected sediments that had washed from the crater on to a nearby floodplain. Among the gathered grains, the scientists found particles of shocked quartz and other materials that are typically produced by the violence of a extraterrestrial impact. Geochemical tests of the grains suggest the meteorite was made of iron.

So far it has been impossible to put a firm age on the crater, but its condition suggests it formed after ice began to cover Greenland about 3 million years ago. But the crater may have formed much more recently. The radar images show that while the surface layers of the glacier immediately above the crater look normal, deeper layers that are older than 12,000 years are badly deformed and strewn with rocks, with some lumps as big as trucks.

"When it happened is the $64,000 question," said MacGregor. For a final answer, the researchers will need to drill through half a mile of ice and collect crater material for dating, or wait for rocks from the impact basin to be brought to the surface as the glacier flows to the sea. Either way, the scientists have a wait on their hands.

"We live on a planet where you can survey anything and you think you know everything," said Kjær. "But when you see such a big thing as this hiding in plain sight, you realise that the age of discovery is not over yet."
And for more on the evidence of what was happening back then, check out: Of Flash Frozen Mammoths and Cosmic Catastrophes