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Meteors

  • AMS detects Meteor Bombardment of Unknown Orign

    The American Meteor Society (AMS) camera system captured a swarm of 7 bright meteors of unknown origin within just 3 seconds of one another at 11:50 UTC on January 18, 2021.

    Five of the seven meteor paths intersected in an area just east of the 3rd magnitude star Zubenelgenubi (alpha Librae), Robert Lunsford of the AMS said.

    Four of the meteors also intersected in an area just south of the well-known double star Acrab (beta Scorpii). Lastly, four of the meteors also intersected near the third magnitude star pi Hydrae at 213 -24.

    The radiant lists published by the IMO and the IAU MDC showed nothing matching any of the above-given positions.

    Video courtesy Vishnu Reddy/University of Arizona

    "Calculating the positions of non-conventional sources such as the apex radiants revealed that the southern apex source lies close to pi Hydrae on this date," Lunsford said.

    "This is not a source in the sense of a common orbit related to an object but rather a sum of meteoroids on similar near parabolic orbits with high inclination. This might explain the different radiant positions."

    The close sequence of the observed meteors may suggest that the meteors are fragments of a meteoroid that recently fragmented prior to encountering the Earth, resulting in the swarm that was caught by these cameras, Lunsford concluded.

    Featured image credit: Vishnu Reddy/University of Arizona, IMO

    WATCH: Atmospheric Fireball Explosions worsen in 2020, incoming space rocks secretly classified

  • Bright Fireball Streaks Across Northern L.A.

    More than 80 people submitted their eyewitness reports to the American Meteor Society (AMS) after a bright fireball streaked through the night sky over southern California at 02:49 UTC on March 21, 2021 (19:49 PDT, March 20).

    According to NASA Meteor Watch, the meteor was first spotted 96 km (60 miles) above Church Dome in the Sequoia National Forest northeast of Bakersfield.

    It moved south of east at 138 400 km/h (86 000 mph) before ablating 69 km (43 miles) above Goldstone, traveling a total distance of 140 km (87 miles) in just under 4 seconds.

  • Daylight Fireball over San Francisco Causes Sonic Blast and Shaking

    Bay Area residents took to Twitter Thursday night to report what sounded to some like a sonic boom.

    Some said their houses shook. Others reported hearing an explosion-like noise or a loud boom. Some speculated that the sound may have been the result of a meteor.

    One Twitter user said the phenomenon occurred around 7:20 p.m. Most of the reports appeared to be coming from residents of Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties.

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    The National Weather Service's Bay Area branch said it was aware of the social media reports, but did not see or hear anything unusual from its Monterey office. Thick clouds hanging over the office, however, would have obscured anything in the sky, NWS said.

    UPDATEA METEOR which flew through the Californian skies in broad daylight left some locals wondering if the incoming space rock hit the Santa Cruz mountains.

    Earlier today, a meteor flew through the skies of California. Tens of people in California saw the meteor, most of those around the San Francisco area. Witnesses flocked to the International Meteor Organisation (IMO) to report their sighting.

    Some were concerned that it was going to make land surface - which it did not.

    A person named Cole told the IMO: "It was extremely close looking compared to any other meteor-like object I've observed and was headed towards the direction of Briones Reservoir.

    "Could've touched down not too far from my location but am unsure. Very visible fragmentation."

    Daniel added: "It was headed toward Black Mountain technically in the Santa Cruz Mountains; I am quite curious if it impacted on the face of the mountains I can see or if it streaked over or burned up before impact."

    Julia said: "It was a clear blue sky and the sun was still up.

    "It had a trail as it streaked across and it looked like silver and blue fire. Then the fireball vanished."

    Ryan told the IMO: "I have seen quite a few meteors, this was the first I've ever seen during the day time.

    "It was significant enough my peripheral vision caught it immediately while driving down a busy interstate."

    Thankfully, the meteor did not make land and the explosion can be attributed to a small meteor hitting the atmosphere.

  • Daylight fireball traveling at 47,000 mph explodes over Vermont, creates shock wave vibration

    People called from all over the state Sunday, reporting a loud boom and a body-rattling vibration. What they were hearing and feeling was a meteor hitting the atmosphere.

    It was captured on WCAX’s camera at the Burlington International Airport - a bright fireball flying over northern Vermont around 5:40 p.m.

    (Meteor visible in upper left hand side of video)

    NASA Meteor Watch says it was moving at 47,000 mph. It traveled 33 miles from above Mount Mansfield State Forest to Beach Hill near Newport, before burning up.

    Here are some comments from Facebook users:

    Facebook user, CJ Hudson, had a similar experience. He said: "We heard a sonic boom followed by a dwindling rumble come from north by north east from here in the north east corner of Bristol [Connecticut]. I thought it sounded a little abnormal."

    Another eyewitness, Shannon Lemley-Willis, in Johnson, Vermont, said her kids were playing outside when the fireball passed overhead, with her children describing the noise as "big trucks crashing."

    Eyewitness Loretta King, who was in St. Albans, Vermont, at the time, said she was in her car and saw the bright yellowish glow of what she thought was a "missile in the sky," describing the sight as "amazing."

    Meanwhile, the largest and fastest asteroid of 2021 is quickly approaching with an expected flyby on March 21.

  • Mystery in sky near Asda before meteor crash in UK

    UK Meteor Update: A mysterious aerial phenomenon was pictured an hour before a spectacular meteorblazed a trail through the sky.

    The striking image has puzzled locals in Gloucestershire after it was taken in Cheltenham at around 8:43pm on Sunday.

    This was about an hour and a quarter before the fireball meteor was seen and heard in the county, GloucestershireLivereports.

    The strange formation was photographed by James Parfitt who said: "There I was just putting the rubbish in the bin, looked up and saw this amazing phenomenon.

    “At first I thought it was an unusual cloud, but noticed the rest of the sky was completely clear.

    “It looked very strange."

    Even though the photograph was taken around 75 minutes before the meteor, James said there were similarities.

    He said: “If you look at other photos from past meteor showers it looks identical, so perhaps there were more earlier?

    “It’s too much of a coincidence to not be related.”

    The picture was taken in his garden, looking east towards a British supermarket, Cheltenham and ultimately the Cotswolds where the later meteor is thought to have landed.

    Many were disturbed by what was described as a ‘sonic boom’ as the meteor entered the Earth’s atmosphere - including people living in Bishop's Cleeve.

    The meteor is understood to have landed somewhere between Swindon Village and Bourton-on-the-Hill, according to the network.

    Social media was on Monday morning awash with footage of the dazzling fireball and a trail of smoke, with loud bangs heard for miles.

    The dramatic sighting was spotted across the UK shortly before 10pm, with Scots reporting the "stunning" moment.

    Those in the West Country also saw the dramatic fireball.

    WATCH: Huge Fireball Burns over the London Sky, Creates Shock Wave

  • Orionid Meteor Sky Event with a Halloween Blue Moon

    This week stargazers will be able to see up to 25 shooting stars per hour fly across the night sky as the Orionid Meteor Shower puts on its annual show.

    These meteors streak across the sky each October, through until November 7 – but peak viewing is expected on Wednesday, October 21 around midnight.

    This cosmic event happens when Earth passes through stream of debris left behind Comet Halley – the parent comet of the Orionid shower.

    You should be able to see the shooting stars from whatever direction you look, but they will appear to come from the constellation of Orion in the south east.

    Astronomers note that the meteors can move 148,000 miles per hour into the atmosphere, but leave gas trails in the sky that last for a few seconds.

    NASA deems the Orionids as one of the most beautiful showers in the year, which are visible in both the Northern and Southern hemispheres after midnight.

    NASA recommends finding an area of dark sky, away from street lights and other sources of light pollution and to be prepared for a long wait. 

    They’ll be relatively easy to spot as long as the sky is clear and weather good, but it could take some time before one appears bright enough to spot.

    Astronomers recommend laying flat on your back, face your feet towards the south east if you’re in the northern hemisphere, and north east if you’re in the southern. 

    Then just ‘look up’, taking in as much of the sky as possible – it is better to use the naked eye rather than a telescope or binoculars for a ‘wide view’. 

    The Orionid meteor shower will peak on October 21, 2020

    The shower of shooting stars is made up of the debris stream that was left behind by comet Halley as it made its way into the inner solar system and began to lose material through heating from the Sun. 

    The nucleus sheds its ice and rocky dust into space and as the Earth passes through that debris strewn area it left behind  the particles fall through our atmosphere. 

    It’s a good year to watch the shooting stars as they coincide with the Moon in a waxing crescent phase, meaning it sets before midnight and provides dark skies.

    They’re not the strongest of the annual meteor showers, but you should see up to 25 per hour during the peak on October 21. 

    They are extremely fast – up to 41 miles per second and can be on the faint side – but they do leave a persistent train of ionized gas that lasts a few seconds and is easier to spot than the meteor itself. 

    You do also get exceptionally bright ones dotted throughout the wider shower of faint fragments, according to EarthSky.

    The Orionid meteor shower radiates from the constellation of Orion – which is also where its name originates – as annual showers are named for the point in our sky they appear to come from.  

    They streak out in all directions from that point – so you’ll seen them at any point in the sky – which is why it is best to get a wide view. 

    To confirm whether the shooting star is an Orionid – trace its path backwards and you may see it comes from the Club of Orion – just north of Betelgeuse.

    This month also brings with it a rare Blue Moonthat will be visible across all times zones on Halloween.

    Our lunar neighbor will not shine blue, but the name is given because it is the second full moon to appear in the same month – the first occurs October 1 and the next on October 31.

    The cosmic display happens seven times every 19 years, which means the world will not see the next one on October 31 until 2039.

    What makes this event even rarer is that it will be seen in all parts of the world for the first time since World War II. 

    People in North and South America will have a glimpse of the Blue Moon, along with those in India, Europe and Asia.

    Watch This: Earth Encounters a Sudden Burst of Asteroids Approaching Closer than the Moon

    In the week of October 12 through the 18th, a total of 10 newly discovered asteroids visited our neighborhood, all of them passing within 1 lunar distance of the Earth. The discovery marks a significant increase in both the detection and the passage of asteroids within one lunar distance within a short time window.

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