I had a call last night from a colleague 22.59 BST to report that he'd seen a very bright meteor just as he'd come out of the pub for a cigarette (see, the smoking ban does have its advantages!). He was in Haslington, close to Crewe, Cheshire and reported that it broke into 4 or 5 pieces as it traversed East to West, gaining a maximum altitude to the south of 45 degrees. Reminded him of the breakup of Columbia back in 2003.
Based on the duration (a few seconds) it sounded too slow for a meteor but the direction (East to West) would be unusual for a satellite as most are launched West to East to take advantge of the earth's rotation.
The BBC are now carringing the story (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-19683687). I was in an airport lounge due to a flight delay (and as I write this am now stuck in another lounge having missed my connection) so have been unable to check my cameras.
The BBC reports suggest that it was observed from Scotland as well as Northern Ireland and Norfolk. Did anyone else capture this?
Date: 2012-Sep-21 Time: 22.56pm till 22.59pm Location: NEWTOWNABBEY, COUNTY ANTRIM, N.I. Report: An amazing WHITE HOT set of meteors in a line, perhaps only 20 to 40 metres above us. The largest was about 2m across. We live quite high up in the COUNTY ANTRIM hills. My boyfriend and I heard the sounds of many small meteors fall to the earth near us, around DERRYMORE ROAD, and BURNEY'S LANE, NEWTOWNABBEY, then we heard a large THUD as 1 much large meteor landed near us. We have just collected 16 possible meteor fragments. 13 are dark black, like basalt. 1 is dark black and looks volcanic like obsidian. 1 is grey. 1 is like black volcanic pumice.
Not sure if this is legitimate or a hoax ... time will tell!
If it came in over Scotland / North England and was this bright then there's a good chance that my North facing camera caught it - here's hope my PC hasn't crapped out ... has been running unattended since Monday!
Have just checked my cameras and alas, I'm afraid that it was not picked up. Not sure why - perhaps it was outside the FOV or was so slow moving that it was ignored. I suspect the former but as other observations are collated, we'll get a clearer understanding.
I was having a look at other various fireball videos. The Peekshill fireball which was recovered looks like this one to a degree so it's impossible to tell without a ground find. But the Leiden site makes a good case on the velocity so it looks like its meteoric.
Interesting, I hope the report is genuine as it would be exceptional!
Having spoke to David Asher from the Armagh Observatory at the IMC he is having a few extra days on the island. I will email him to see if he has any further information form the NI grapevine.
Post by David Entwistle on Sept 30, 2012 11:31:16 GMT
In addition to Marco's analysis, you've probably already seen the following...
Robert Matson has provided a report in which his preliminary calculations suggest that the fireball seen across Europe was the result of an encounter with a body who's path did not intersect the surface of the Earth. After the initial encounter, Rob calculates that the main mass of the object may have retained sufficient energy to leave the Earth's atmosphere, to re-enter at at later time.
Let me start with the analysis result, since it's pretty exciting: the UK bolide of 21 September 2012 was an earth-grazer: it's pre-earth-encounter trajectory did NOT intersect the earth! It came very close -- a minimum altitude of about 57 km over western Ireland. Coincidentally, this is the same minimum altitude that was achieved by the Grand Teton Daytime Fireball of 1972, although that encounter lacked the significant fragmentation seen last Friday.) Thanks to that fragmentation coupled with the low altitude, some meteorites may have actually made it to the ground (or more likely the ocean). But a significant fraction of the original meteoroid went right back into space. Depending on the velocity (which I would need a good video to estimate), the original asteroid's orbit may have been sufficiently aerobraked to have been captured by earth's gravity. If so, then the remaining fragments would have reentered for good one orbit later in the middle of the North Atlantic.
It looks now that the fireball witnessed 155 minutes later in US and Canada, may have been one fragment of the British fireball, most probably the biggest one. This was its second entry into the Earth`s atmosphere.
Hi David, Great to see you here. I'd seen that interpretation on another couple of meteor blog postings, they referenced the same source. It's really fascinating to think of the rock skipping off of the atmosphere like a stone on a pond! It looks like an interesting development and I hope it survived and something of it gets recovered. I have no doubt somebody will be looking for it if it's predicted to have come down on land. Cheers, Bill.