LIve Chat and Ustream! 2014 Perseid Meteor Shower

The annual Perseid meteor shower will peak in the skies over Earth on the night of Aug. 12-13. Despite a bright moon, there should still be a good show from this prolific shower. Projected peak rates are 30-40 meteors/hour. Much of the world can see Perseids any time after full dark, with peak viewing projected early on the morning of Aug. 13 (3-4 a.m., your local time).

Dr. Bill Cooke, Rhiannon Blaauw and Danielle Moser of the NASA Meteoroid Environment Office will take your Perseid questions via live web chat. The chat module will appear on this page on Aug. 12 at 11 p.m. EDT (Aug. 13, 3:00 UTC). A Ustream view of the skies over Marshall Space Flight Center will be embedded on this page on Aug. 12 at 9:30 p.m. EDT (Aug. 13, 1:30 UTC).

The map below shows global viewing for the Perseids. Click on the map for a larger view. (NASA/MSFC/Danielle Moser)

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From our Meteoroid Environment Office here at Marshall Space Flight Center, courtesy of Danielle Moser, showing the speeds of several meteor showers.  (NASA/MSFC/Danielle Moser)

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Earthgrazer Seen In The Southern Sky

Last night at 8:38:30 PM CDT, a basketball size meteoroid entered the atmosphere 63 miles above Columbia, South Carolina. Moving northwest at 78,000 miles per hour, it burned up 52 miles above the Tennessee country side, just north of Chattanooga. This fireball was not part of any meteor shower and belongs to a class of meteors called Earthgrazers. These meteors skim along the upper part of the atmosphere before burning up. This one travelled a distance of 290 miles, which is quite rare for a meteor.


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Eta Aquarids Visible Tonight

There will still be Eta Aquarids visible tonight, but at a rate of less than half of last night’s peak. Those in the southern hemisphere will again see more Eta Aquarids than those in the northern hemisphere, but pretty much everywhere in the world except the Arctic Circle has a chance to view the shower. You can spot meteors any time after dark, but Eta Aquarids meteors will not be visible until after 2:30 AM local time, when the constellation of Aquarius rises above the horizon. The highest visibility for Eta Aquarids will be in the couple of hours before dawn, sometime after about 4:00 a.m. local time.

You don’t need special equipment like a telescope: you only need your eyes. If you have clear skies, go outside to a place away from city lights. Lie on your back and look straight up at the sky, allowing your eyes 30-45 minutes to adjust to the dark. Meteors may appear from any direction, and this gives you the widest possible field of view to spot one. On any given night, it’s possible to see 6-8 sporadic meteors per hour, even without a specific shower event.10176048_701557939903435_1165090939734315133_n

Bright Fireball in Northern Mississippi and Southern Tennessee

A bright first appeared 51 miles above the town of Dumas in northern Mississippi and proceeded slightly west of north at 40,000 mph, burning up between the Tennessee towns of Saulsbury and Middleton at an altitude of 23 miles. The time of the event was 12:46:36 AM CDT.

It was about as a bright as a crescent Moon, which translates into an object of about 6 inches in diameter. The orbit indicates that this meteor got as close to the Sun as the planet Venus and as nearly as far out as Mars before kamikazing into our atmosphere.

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Bright, Basketball Sized Meteor in Ontario

Researchers from Western University have released footage of a basketball-sized meteor that was almost as bright as the full moon.

The meteor lit up the skies of southwestern Ontario last week. Astronomers are hoping to enlist the help of local residents in recovering one or more possible meteorites that may have crashed in the area just north of St. Thomas, Ontario.

Meteorites may best be recognized by their dark and scalloped exterior, and are usually denser than normal rock and will often attract a fridge magnet due to their metal content. In this fall, meteorites may be found in a small hole produced by their dropping into soil. Meteorites are not dangerous, but any recovered meteorites should be placed in a clean plastic bag or container and be handled as little as possible to preserve their scientific information.

More details can be found at  http://meteor.uwo.ca/research/fireball/events/st_thomas/overview.html

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 Credit: The University of Western Ontario

Southern California Lit Up By Fireball

The fireball over southern California last night at 7:49 PM PST was a North Taurid.  Brighter than the Full Moon, it was caused by a piece of Comet Encke about 2 feet in diameter hitting the atmosphere at 56,000 mph. Information about the fireball was provided by NASA’s Meteoroid Environment Office (MEO) and is the NASA organization responsible for meteoroid environments pertaining to spacecraft engineering and operations. The MEO leads NASA technical work on the meteoroid environment and coordinates the existing meteoroid expertise at NASA centers.

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Fireball in the Sky!

The NASA All Sky Fireball Network detected this beauty on May 16, 2013 at 03:11:50 UTC.  Observed by 6 meteor cameras, this fireball penetrated deep into the atmosphere, making it down to an altitude of 36 km (22 miles).

A view of the fireball from Cartersville, Georgia.  (NASA/MEO)

The 350 gram meteoroid responsible for this brilliant display entered the atmosphere at around 22 km/s (49,000 mph) — slow for a meteoroid! — and decelerated to about 10 km/s (22,000 mph) before disintegrating over northwest Georgia.

Map showing the location of 6 cameras in the NASA All Sky Fireball Network.  Color-coded circles indicate the approximate field of view of each camera.  The meteor’s path is shown in white. (NASA/MEO/D. Moser)

Calculations indicate a radiant in the constellation Libra.

Eta Aquarids Caught on Camera

 

Same meteor — same location — two different meteor cameras! The video shows the same meteor (an Eta Aquarid!) from one of our all-sky cameras and from our wide-field camera (~20×15 degree FOV) both located at Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville.

 

 

(Credit: All Sky Camera Network)

NASA All Sky Fireball Network Captures Eta Aquarids

A composite image of 13 Eta Aquarid meteors from the NASA All Sky Fireball Network station in Mayhill, New Mexico the morning of May 6, 2013.  Clouds seriously hampered our view of the ETAs this year. Observations reported to the International Meteor Organization indicate an outburst in the early hours of  May 6th UTC.

(Credit: All Sky Camera Network)

NASA Statement on the Russian Meteor

 According to NASA scientists, the trajectory of the Russian meteor was significantly different than the trajectory of the asteroid 2012 DA14, making it a completely unrelated object. Information is still being collected about the Russian meteor and analysis is preliminary at this point. In videos of the meteor, it is seen to pass from left to right in front of the rising sun, which means it was traveling from north to south. Asteroid DA14’s trajectory is in the opposite direction, from south to north.