Amazing Fireball Videos

Written by The Night Sky Guy on November 22, 2009 – 11:53 am -

Check out this cool compilation video of this week’s giant fireball that blazed over the state of Utah. All the shots were taken by surveillance cameras. Spaceweather.com reports that the meteor exploded with the equivalent of 0.5 to 1 kilotons of TNT and probably not associated with this week’s Leonid shower.


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Ontario Meteor a Rare Event

Written by The Night Sky Guy on October 2, 2009 – 9:45 am -

Update Oct. 2: Latest on last Friday’s Fireball. Sources say that university team that caught meteor fall on film has been out in the field all this week scouring the region for possible meteorites from the event, hence all the silence on the topic. Source also says that the event was so well documented on all eight skycams that the researchers MAY have a good idea where pieces of the meteor that could have survived entry actually landed.  Will bring you more ASAP.

 

Last Friday night saw thousands of people across Ontario bear witness to a meteor’s fiery entry into the atmosphere. Everybody has been dying to learn more about this striking event so here are a few tidbits of info I just got from prof. Margaret Campbell Brown at University of Western Ontario who is part of the school’s Meteor Physics Group which studies events like the one on Friday.  The streak of light was indeed a meteor. Size still unknown. It travelled in the general direction of north to south and possibly flew directly over Hamilton, Ontraio. Since it was seen from Ottawa down to Columbus, Ohio the light show was probably happening some 20 to 40 km in altitude. The sound and rumbling heard and felt were sonic booms, which is not unusual and are known to occur a minute or two after seeing a fireball.   How rare is an event like this? Campbell says something like this happens maybe every 5 years or so.

While there has not been any really scientifically valuable videos or photos turning up from the public, luckily a set of seven all-sky cameras set up by the University across the region caught the meteor racing across the sky directly on film. From the initial look at the data, Campbell Brown says the meteor may have broke into fragments, and while it is too early to tell if any pieces made it to the ground, it looks as though if any pieces did fall, they might unfortunately have went into Lake Ontario. But this is all preliminary and actual trajectory will have to be further analyzed. The Meteor physics Group will put out a press release and reveal their camera film of the meteor later today sometime soon.

Stay tuned right here for an update later this afternoon. You can also get late-breaking news by following me on Twitter and Facebook, or get a daily email alert sent directly to your inbox.

Update Sept. 28, 9 pm: Still waiting for UWO to release meteor video and analysis. Will keep you posted…


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Meteor over Cleveland

Written by The Night Sky Guy on September 30, 2009 – 11:30 am -

Here is the first good shot of last Friday night’s meteor that was seen across southern Ontario, Ohio and parts of New England. It was taken from downtown Cleveland and can be seen as a broken green streak above the buildings. Miranda Nenadovich snapped the photo purely by chance as she happened to be taking a series of photographs of the skyline. Experts believe the meteor may have been centred somewhere above the Hamilton, Ont. region, which would be the reason for it not being as bright from this more distant location.

 

Meteor above Cleveland, Ohio; Courtesy of Miranda Nenadovich

Meteor above Cleveland, Ohio; Courtesy of Miranda Nenadovich

 

“It was taken in downtown Cleveland off of Franklin Ave and West 25th… (not too good about directions like north and south) with a digital SLR Canon Rebel XTi. ” says photographer Miranda Nenadovich. “I set my camera on my tripod and walked away to look out at the skyline and saw the bright green flash off to the left out of nowhere…only lasted about 3 to 4 seconds. I didnt think it would show up on my camera but luckily it did.”

Note: Still waiting for release of Ontario university fim footage.  Will keep you posted…


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Searching for Videos and Pieces of Meteor

Written by The Night Sky Guy on September 26, 2009 – 10:21 pm -

There is no doubt that Friday night’s meteor event was a spectacular one, just from the hundreds of people relaying their personal experiences here and through emails.  Astronomers will be interested in using these eyewitness reports from across the region to triangulate the direction the meteor was heading and figure our where, if any, fragments may have landed.

From many of the accounts received here the ball of light did appear to break up into sparkling pieces before fizzling out. So there is good reason to think that pieces may have rained down across one specific locale. The question is where?

The search continues for good photos and videos of the meteor itself. In past events like these security cameras, like in parking lots for instance, may have recorded something. Also police car dashcams can make amazing records of fireballs like this one. Check out this video made last year in November 20, 2008 from a cop car in Edmonton, Alberta. It would be wonderful to get footage like this from Friday’s event.


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Meteor Flash Across South Ontario

Written by The Night Sky Guy on September 26, 2009 – 10:22 am -

Update Sept. 26, 10 am ET: Eyewitness from GTO caught the meteor flashes reflected off the ground on a videocam, “… shows a faint glow from that meteor in the Toronto area. The location is Laird and Eglinton in Toronto. Top right corner of the video is west left is towards the south.”

Reports are still coming in from all over the South Ontario region with many witnesses describing a loud rumble that shook homes associated with the flash of white and green light that lasted about 3 to 4 seconds. Click on this link to see the video:  Toronto videocam records meteor flash, Courtesy of Glen McKiernan, Toronto, Ontario

Update 11:30 pm ET: Just got two eyewitness reports from Ottawa region. One observer recounts, “From the size it was that we saw, we thought someone was setting off fireworks in the area.”

Reports are coming in from between Hamilton and Toronto area, that a spectacularly bright flash of light has streaked across the skies in a amtter of just 4 seconds, happening just after 9 pm Eastern time. One observer in Hamilton saw the sky light up as if by a lightening bolt. Some report hearing a thud or thunder-like sound associated with it. One Mississauga resident reports a firecracker sound associated with the streak of light.

These descriptions sound like the object was a meteor, probably the size of a basketball up to a sofa-sized rock from space that burned up in the atmosphere. Astronomers call these unusually bright flashes fireballs or bolides. Meteors can travel around 70 km per second and mostly get ionized in the upper atmosphere, but when they are this big they can fragment and pieces can make it to the ground. Stay tuned for more details to come. 

Did you see tonight’s event? Send me your observation at the comments section below and if you have any photos to share you can send them to andrew@thenightskyguy.com


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Meteor Activity on the Rise

Written by The Night Sky Guy on August 9, 2009 – 4:58 pm -

Have you seen any shooting stars yet? Reports are beginning to come in that the Perseids meteors are starting to slam into Earth in greater numbers and the show has begun. Meteor rates as of Saturday are around 30 per hour, and things will only get better as we reach peak time, late Tuesday night.Skywatchers say they are seeing sporadic clusters of meteors with reports across Canada of fireballs seen the last couple of nights. These are baseball to basketball sized space rocks that pepper the persied cloud of sand-sized particles and vapourize high in our atmosphere while putting on a great fireworks show- they look like something is really on fire and even produce a lingering smoke trail- quite a sight!. If your skies are clear tonight why not hunt down a few shooting stars. They will surely whet your appetite for Tuesday night when the real downpour begins.

Here is a short videotape of the overhead sky during the Perseids in 2007. It will give you an idea of what these shooting stars look like. Very pretty!


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