A bright meteor occurred around 5:18 am CDT the morning of September 30th. It was first detected 66 miles above Tennessee City, TN by four NASA All Sky Fireball Network cameras (located in Huntsville, AL, Chickamauga, GA, Tullahoma, TN, and Rosman, NC) and moved slightly south of east at a speed of 147,600 mph. It traveled just over 1 mile through the atmosphere before burning up about 53 miles above the ground.
On Tuesday, Sept. 23, a second fireball occurred about 40 minutes after the fireball in Tennessee. The Michigan fireball is close to the edge of the camera because the meteor was at extreme range, over 200 miles away, for the camera.
The Michigan fireball was produced by a piece of a comet over 2 feet across, probably weighing around 40 pounds. It hit Earth’s atmosphere at a speed of 54,000 mph.
North America has a pretty good seat for this cosmic event.
1. First, check the visibility map to make sure it’s visible from your location.
2. Then check the weather – if you are expecting clouds, then Mother Nature has just rained on your parade and you won’t be able to see any meteors from outside your home. However, we will continue to stream clear skies here overnight, trying to find the best view of the night sky from our network of ground based telescopes.
3. If the weather gods are smiling down upon you, find a safe, dark location – away from city lights and lay out beneath the stars. You don’t need to look in any particular direction, just straight up, but away from the moon. Meteors can appear all over the sky.
4. Add a lawn chair or sleeping bag and some snacks and you should be set!
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)
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)
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.
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.
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.
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
Credit: The University of Western Ontario
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.
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.