Fireball Over Southern Tennessee

At 8:26:38 pm CDT on Tuesday, Sept. 23, a 2 inch piece of an asteroid entered the atmosphere above the town of Lutts in southern Tennessee. Moving almost due west at a speed of 46,300 miles per hour, it traveled some 52 miles before burning up 25 miles above the Tennessee farmland. At its peak, the fireball was about twice as bright as the planet Venus, and was seen by many in north Alabama, Mississippi, and Tennessee.

fireball map

 

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

First Observations of the 2013 Eta Aquarids

Despite interference from the moon and clouds (and rising sun!), this morning we snagged our first observations of the 2013 Eta Aquarids.  Here’s an image of one from the all sky camera in Tullahoma, Tennessee.  The Eta Aquarids peak in the pre-dawn hours on May 6 and are material from Halley’s comet.  They zoom around the solar system at speeds near 148,000 mph.  The one seen here burned up completely in our atmosphere over Nunnelly, Tennessee at a height of 58.7 miles above the ground.

(Credit: All Sky Camera Network)

PANSTARRS images

Images were taken by Rob Suggs and Aaron Kingery in twilight through cirrus clouds around 00:36 UT on 17 Mar 2013 with a 14 inch Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope at Marshall Space Flight Center’s Automated Lunar and Meteor Observatoryin Huntsville, Ala.  The detector was a low-light level B&W video camera with a focal reducer giving a 20 arcminute horizontal field of view.  The view shows the over-exposed coma and a faint division in the 2 sides of the dust tail.  The images were not flat-fielded or dark-subtracted.

The darker image is a stack of 60 video frames (2 seconds), enhanced to show the tail. The lighter image is produced by simply stacking 1600 video frames (53.3 seconds).