At 11:29 GMT on Monday December 14, 2009, Wally Pacholka captured one of the largest fireballs recorded during this year’s Geminid Meteor Shower in Mojave Desert in California. Seen toward the southwest over rock formations near Victorville, California, a more familiar celestial background was momentarily washed out by the meteor’s flash. The background includes bright star Sirius at the left, and Aldebaran and the Pleaides star cluster at the right side of the image. The meteor itself blazes through the constellation Orion. Its greenish trail begins just left of a yellow-tinted Betelgeuse and points back to the shower’s radiant in Gemini, just off the top of the frame.
This years Geminid meteor shower have been truly spectacular. Despite the weather’s reluctance to cooperate in many parts of the world, some amazing photos have surfaced. Nevertheless, IMHO, none compare to the photo below taken by Bjørnar G. Hansen in Norway.
Bright fireball in Ursa Major with Aurora Borealis and Mars (middle right edge) - Credit: Bjørnar G. Hansen
In addition to capturing a bright Geminid fireball, Bjørnar also managed to fit Aurora Borealis and Mars (middle right edge) into a single shot.
Although the predicted Geminid peak has passed and the activity will be dropping in the next 24-48 hours, it may be worth spending just one more night outside, as some say that fireballs tend to appear at the end of meteor showers.
Bolide streaking across the sky over Utah as seen from the security cameras at the Willard L. Eccles Observatory on Frisco Peak
Numerous reports of a bright fireball that illuminated parts of the Utah sky on Wednesday at around 07:07 GMT are appearing around the Internet. A video from outside security cameras at the University of Utah’s Milford observatory shows a blinding flash of light.
Utah’s NASA and Solar System Ambassador Patrick Wiggins said that, from his observatory near Stansbury Park, the break up of the meteor occurred at about 240 to 250 degrees azimuth which puts it just north of southwest. He also heard the sound of an explosion that would put the breakup of the bolide about 100 km in that direction placing it high above Granite Peak in the west desert.
Utah scientists said later on Wednesday that there was a chance that the meteor was associated with the annual Leonid meteor shower.
Hundreds of reports flooded astronomical societies in the Netherlands and Germany yesterday, as people observed a brilliant fireball in the evening’s twilight skies. Below is a spectacular photo taken by Robert Mikaelyan.
Fireball Meteor Over Groningen - Source: Robert Mikaelyan
Update 4: Below is a spectacular shot of the meteor captured by Robert Mikaelyan
Fireball Meteor Over Groningen captured around 17:00UTC on Tuesday Netherlands - Source: Robert Mikaelyan
Update 3: Koen Miskotte estimated the meteor’s brightness between -8 and -12. According to his report the red orange fireball broke up in 5/6 pieces each one with a magnitude of -3 to -5. There are also reports of a sonic boom and a rumbling sound and shaking windows.
Update 2: Pictures of the smoke trail left by the bolide at dusk have appeared in a forum.
People in the Netherlands and Germany are reporting an extremely bright fireball seen around 19.00 CEST (17:00 UTC), traveling more or less south-north. Daniel Fisher of the Nuremberg Astronomical Associationposted a photo of the meteor Daniel Fischer twittered links to a report posted on a mailing-list run by the Nuremberg Astronomical Association as well as to a a photo of the meteor:
A bright fireball seen over the Netherlands and Germany on October 13, 2009 at 16:58:24 UTC - Source: Jan de Vries
Theo Jurriens from the Kapteyn Astronomical Institute of University of Groningen, and KNMI – the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute, confirmed about one hundred reports received from the public. The meteor has been seen to burst into three pieces eventually.
Astronomy Ireland has received hundreds of reports of a brilliant exploding fireball in the sky at around 20:00 UTC on Thursday, September 3, 2009. Witnesses said that the bolide lit up the sky for several seconds. Shortly afterward, when the slower traveling sound waves reached the stunned observers, a huge explosion was heard.
Astronomy Ireland chairman David Moore said:
So far, reports have been registered by residents in west Cork, Kerry, Cavan and as far north as Donegal, thus suggesting that this spectacular event may have been witnessed by people all over the country.
The group is currently attempting to determine possible locations where meteorite fragments could be found. If any parts of the space rock are located, they will be the second meteorite fragments recovered in Ireland since 1865 (a meteorite crashed in Ireland at around 22:10 UTC on November 28, 1999, and its remnants have been found in the county of Carlow).