Ontario Fireball Sets Off Meteorite Hunt

Written by The Night Sky Guy on March 21, 2014 – 2:28 pm -

This is a shot of the bright metoer that streaked across southwestern Ontario on March 18, 2014 as captured by special all-sky camera monitors. Credit: University of Western Ontario

This is a shot of the bright meteor that streaked across southwestern Ontario on March 18, 2014 as captured by special all-sky camera monitors. Credit: University of Western Ontario

On Tuesday, March 18 at 10:24 pm EDT a super-bright fireball lit up southwestern Ontario skies.

Here is a photo captured by Univ. Western Ontario all-sky camera of the meteor event. Researchers now estimate it was a meteor the size of a basketball that entered Earth`s atmosphere. The cosmic intruder spend about 5 seconds traveling through North American skies before the air pressure pulverized it. Meteor experts say this is the first time in a half decade that such a bright event happened in Ontario.

The space rock most likely fragmented with pieces probably making it to the ground. Now the hunt is on for meteorites just 5 km NW of St. Thomas, Ontario. According to researchers the odds of finding a fragment of the meteor are small since it’s like looking for a needle in a haystack but the general public has the best shot.

Stay tuned for more details as they are made available.

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Eastern Canada Meteor Event Confirmed

Written by The Night Sky Guy on November 28, 2013 – 7:10 pm -

If skies would have been clear Tuesday night then skywatchers might have witnessed a bright fireball like this one.

If skies would have been clear Tuesday night then skywatchers might have witnessed a bright fireball like this one.

Yes that loud sonic boom and flash of light in the sky on Tuesday night at 7:47 pm EST was indeed a meteor racing across the southern Ontario, eastern Quebec region.

Prof.Peter Brown, a leading expert on meteor physics at the University of Western Ontario reports that infrasonic microphones, part of the USArray network of seismological detectors across the continent detected the series of shockwaves produced by the break up of the meteor as it traveled at supersonic speeds across the region.

“From a very casual examination of the records from five of these stations, it appears the fireball went roughly north-south passing almost right over the Island of Montreal,” said Brown in an email statement.

According to the data, the meteor had energy- on the order of less than a ton of TNT at most, indicating that the space rock might have weighed in the tens of kilograms category, explained Brown.

In comparison, the Russian meteor event in February measured some 20 meters across and had enerrgy equivalent of more than 500 kilotons of TNT.

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Possible Meteor Rattles Ontario-Quebec Skies

Written by The Night Sky Guy on November 27, 2013 – 12:16 am -

Folks from Ottawa, Ontario through Laval, Quebec are reporting a blue flash of light followed by a sonic boom that occurred around 7:50 pm ET, November 26th.

This may be signs of a meteor event and could indicate the stone – which could be anywhere in size from a sofa to compact car- may have fragmented with some bits making it to the ground.  Scientists will comb through all the observation reports along with any photo and video evidence so that they can triangulate the trajectory of the possible meteor fall.

Thankfully this appears to be a minor event since there are no reports of any damage -not like what we saw earlier this year occur in Siberia where a 20 meter wide, 60 ton space rock exploded in the atmosphere and injured 1500.

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New Video of Midwestern Fireball

Written by The Night Sky Guy on April 15, 2010 – 3:44 pm -

Take a look at this cool video compilation of the the green fireball seen over much of the U.S. Midwestern region last night. Police stations and the FAA got flooded with calls from eyewitnesses who saw this meteor shooting across the heavens and creating a big light show and even sonic boom heard across many states. No reports yet of any fragments making it to the ground.

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Ontario Meteor Lights up Sky

Written by The Night Sky Guy on February 27, 2010 – 12:11 pm -

On the night of February 20th  at about 6:15 pm, the evening sky was lit up across southern Ontario by a small meteor, otherwise known as a shooting star. Reports indicate that it may have been a baseball to basketball size space rock that burned up in the upper atmosphere at least 30 km in altitude.  Events like these are not all that uncommon, but when they occur over populated areas during evening hours they do get noticed by hundreds if not thousands of people.  Usually meteors are sand grain sized material that hits Earth’s atmosphere at high speeds and get burned up completely before ever hitting the ground. Sometimes larger rocks can produce what is known as a bolide – a bright fireball with a trail of smoke – and can actually make it to the ground. From the many dozens of accounts I have received it appears the February 20th meteor fall put on quite a light show.

Eyewitness from Ottawa region say it appeared as a bright flash nearly overhead while observers in the Toronto area describe a bright yellow/orange coloured streak lasting 2 to 5  seconds about 30 to 40 degrees above the southeastern horizon – heading south.  So far there are no indications that any fragments made it to the ground.

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Montreal Meteor Last Night?

Written by The Night Sky Guy on January 8, 2010 – 12:59 pm -

This morning I have been fielding media calls and getting reports from skywatchers about a possible meteor-fireball seen over the Montreal city skies last night, Thursday at 7:30 pm. Most descriptions say that it was a bluish-green fireball that appeared to go in and out of the clouds, with bits splitting off, all occurring  in just a matter of a second or two. This is consistent with what astronomers call a bolide – a space rock coming through the atmosphere at about 20 km per second and ionizing anywhere 5 to 100 km in altitude. How big was the meteor itself? They can be anywhere from the size of a baseball to a sofa. We will have to wait to see if there were any photos or video taken of the event- which astronomers could use to determine if and where there might be any meteorites on the ground.

Here is a snippet of what witnesses are saying…”I saw it. There were some clouds but not much, it didn’t obstruct my view and it was going towards Orion’s belt which was very clear in the sky last night between 19h40 and 19h50. It’s trajectory was horizontal but slightly downward and still far from falling. The color was fluorescent green and what seems to me to be as big as a basketball with a small trail. I saw it coming from over Montreal all the way across the sky to towards St-Basile-Le-Grand. So although it only lasted a few seconds, I had a good look.” -Edith – St.Bruno

“As I was driving home last night through St-Eustache, Quebec I chanced to look out my left window. I was shocked to see a bright bluish green fireball or meteorite with a beautiful tail flying through the sky which lasted several seconds. Just before it extinguished there was a small bit that broke off.” – Renee, St-Eustache.

Did you see the meteor last night? If so, send me a report in the comments link below or even photos or videos at : andrew@thenightskyguy.com If it was anything like the one seen over Toronto-Hamilton skyline on Sept.25th last year – there may even be some chunks that may have landed. Check out this video of the Ontario/Grimsby meteor (size of a tricycle)- the Montreal one should have put on a similar show. This footage was taken by a seven all-sky video cameras set up by meteor researchers at University of Western Ontario. 


In past events like these, security cameras 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 in November 20, 2008 from a cop car in Edmonton, Alberta. It would be wonderful to get footage like this from Thursday’s event.

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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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Meteor ‘Sprinkle’ this Week

Written by The Night Sky Guy on November 5, 2009 – 6:54 pm -

A minor meteor shower, known as the Taurids are beginning to peak tonight into November 12th.  A modest burst of 5 to 10 meteors per hour can be expected. While that doesn’t sound so fanatastic, the Taurid shower is known to produce bright and slow moving fireballs. They appear to originate from the constellation Taurus, the bull. Face towards the northeast overhead sky at around midnight for best views. No bino or scopes needed – just your eyes!

Taurid meteor streaks appear to come from Taurus constellation

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