[Chaos-l] Fwd: What did I see in the sky last night?
binovision at gmail.com
Tue Jan 19 17:07:49 EST 2010
Just over a week ago, while driving toward Jordan Lake to observe, I
witnessed a similar light show. The object I saw traveled from SE to NW.
It started as a bright point of white light and seemed to be moving a bit
slower than most meteors I've seen. It increased in brightness as it
traversed about 15 degrees of sky. The object left a faint trail (it was
still twilight at the time) and as it brightened, it threw off smaller bits
(like fireworks do) and finally exploded and burned out.
Had it been darker, it would have appeared to be a very bright event. I
chalked it up as a bolide (fireball) and figured I may have been the only
one to have witnessed it. What folks are describing here sounds very
similar to what I saw. Perhaps we are currently traveling through an area
of space populated with a few larger-than-usual chunks of interplanetary
dust. I don't think my meteor reached anything near -14th magnitude, so
I'll call it a bright *fireball*.
Based on this definition from Wikipedia (...*bolide *comes from the
*bolis*) which can mean *a missile* or *to flash*. The IAU has no official
definition of bolide and generally considers the term synonymous with*fireball
*. The bolide term is generally used for fireballs reaching magnitude *-14
or brighter*. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meteoroid#cite_note-Belton-7>
On Tue, Jan 19, 2010 at 12:40 PM, Jon Stewart-Taylor
<joncst at earthlink.net>wrote:
> Hi all. Received the following from Ms. Kasten. Did anyone else see this,
> or read about it? My first guess is a bit of space junk, but i'm open to
> Thanks. J.
> Begin forwarded message:
*From: *"Amy Kasten" <amy.kasten[...]>
*Date: *January 19, 2010 11:44:05 AM EST
> *To: *<chaos at rtpnet.org>
> *Subject: **What did I see in the sky last night?*
> To Whom it May Concern:
> I live in Carrboro off 54 and Smith Level road. I took my dogs for a walk
> last night around 8:45/9:00pm and as I looked up in the northern sky, right
> before me, maybe 30 degrees above the horizon, fell a burning object. I’m
> not sure if it was a meteor or something else, but it felt very close. I
> saw it start falling and then it grew in intensity and it continued to fall
> very slowly for about 5 seconds (not like in a meteor shower where it
> streaks far across the sky in a flash). Also, unlike a shower, the light
> path was not just a fine streak in the distance--I saw the grainy, sparkly
> fire in the object’s trail. It reminded me of those fireworks that burn as
> they fall (they look like hair, or weeping willows maybe).
> I’m not sure if anyone captured this event, but if your club or other
> astronomical unit you know can speak to this, I would really like to know
> what I saw.
> Thanks so much, *Amy Kasten Research Analyst*
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