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South Africa Nov. 21 - Another big fireball/meteor (w/video footage)

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posted on Nov, 24 2009 @ 08:17 PM
South Africa Nov. 21 - Another big fireball/meteor (w/video footage)

This has been an exceptional year so far for big fireballs caught on film, and here is the latest addition:

Video here:


Hi all, perhaps you all heard about the meteorite seen over South Africa on
Saturday night which was scary close to our farm. Read my report below.


Meteorite entry in Northern Province

At the farm site around 15km from the Zimbabe border, 16km north of the
little town Alldays at South 22o30 and East 20o07. a meteorite entry was
seen on Saturday night at 22.04 SA Time and 20h04 UT Time.

The brightest light ever seen was light up the bush field as far as the eye
could see, you should be able to read a book! The next second an impact
sound close to that of a bomb blast with a definite ground impact sound,
follow up with an after sound that went over into a rattle sound which last
for around 3 seconds with slight trembling of the ground.

I ring various people around the area and there was a few who saw the bright
meteorite entry.

One guy reports that the blinding meteorite turn into a fiery red purple
fire ball. In this stage a loud sizzling sound was heard, burning smoke was
seen and the earth was rambling with windows shaking like mad. Another close
to Platjan border post report that he thought his house is been blast away
and ran outside with shock.

This morning, Monday I talk to another Botswana guy who said that the impact
was like a bomb blast close to him. He stayed around 20 kilometres inside
Botswana from the SA border. Because of the rain no fire was report in the
area around us. It looks like the impact sound was been heard over a radius
of more that 200 kilometres. Taking all into account the impact could be
around 50km from us but it is only an estimate. A very real experience which
just show one how vulnerable we are on this little blue dot.



As usual, initial reports sound confused and/or exaggerated, but I'm sure there will be more on this one soon.

Here's a link with some excellent info on the subject of fireballs:
Explosions in the Sky: Fireballs that Produce Meteorites

The MIAC also has lots of good info on fireballs/meteorites.

Related threads
In chronological order (latest thread first) all threads to do with fireballs posted here on ATS since the start of this year:

Midwest megameteor makes media madness
Great Western Fireball
Green Fire Ball flies across the Calgary morning sky (3/29/09)
Fireball and flash in the sky alarms Utahns
Indonesian Super-Bolide Explosion ( why wasn't this on the news?)
Did anyone see what dropped out of the sky in northern ca. 5pmish 11-7-9
Asteroid explosion over Indonesia raises fears about Earth's defences
UFO crash in Russia last week
Fireball over Holland(w/ pic!)
Breaking: UFO in Northern Germany
Huge light over the gold coast city
Bright Blue Flash and Burning Blue Object in Night Sky - PA
Really bright shooting stars over the North-East of England
Father captures mysterious flash speeding across the sky on his camera phone
UFO Sighting August 7th 2009 appx. 8:37 EST
Unidentified Object crashes into QLD mountain
Boy Hit By Meteorite Travelling At 30,000mph
bright green fallign thing
Intense White Meteor
Another Meteor Fireball: Ireland
UFO mar31/09 streaks across calgary sky leaves a lot of people asking..
Loud explosions in Hampton Roads area
UFO-induced "Non--sonic" Boom Rattles So. Cal?
UFO - meteor like object with sonic boom above Dallas and Austin Texas!
Possible UFO crash in Saudi Arabia - Millions Of Witnesses!!
Massive object crashes over Edmonton, Canada
Big blue light over sweden

[edit on 24-11-2009 by C.H.U.D.]

posted on Nov, 24 2009 @ 09:57 PM
Interesting. I wonder if there is any statistics on the number of fireball detected each year. Is the trend increasing?

Could it be planet X disturbing the Oort cloud?

posted on Nov, 24 2009 @ 10:04 PM
Red and Purple flaming could be lithium and potassium, I'm curious about the angle and direction of entry.

posted on Nov, 24 2009 @ 10:06 PM
Now UFOs are meteor fireballs yet the only fireball is the
light from the aircraft.

Best cover yet.

posted on Nov, 24 2009 @ 10:34 PM
reply to post by C.H.U.D.

Oh, thanks for this post. I wanted to post when I first heard it on the radio, but I could find no links at that point. I reserve my UFO/meteorite judgement until they find the impact, or can prove it otherwise.

posted on Nov, 24 2009 @ 11:36 PM
Just to add a little...

We can rule out Leonids since the Leonid radiant was below the horizon in Johannesburg at 22:04 local time when the event is said to have taken place.

When ever a meteor shower radiant is below the horizon, seeing meteors from that shower becomes impossible, or at the very least un-likely - effectively the Earth is acting as a shield. Since the Leonid radiant was below the horizon, any Leonid meteor seen in the sky from that location at that time would have to appear to be traveling upwards and away from the horizon, but in this case the meteor is traveling more towards the horizon.

The video footage from Johannesburg, shows the meteor streaking down at an apparently low angle, and residents of Gauteng say the meteor looked like it was heading towards Pretoria. Although the Leonid radiant was well below the horizon, the Taurid radiant/s would have been at about 30 degrees above the horizon, and the descriptions might be compatible with this meteor being a Taurid as far as I can see, although the radiant seems a bit too far north to make it a certainty.

Looking east from Johannesburg at 22:04 on the 21st Nov. The thick white horizontal line represents the horizon.

It's possible that this meteor was an exceptional Taurid fireball, but from past experience, events like this are usually due to small asteroids, where as the Taurids are thought to have a cometary source (periodic comet Encke), and although they are usually quite bright as meteor showers go, this is at least two or three orders of magnitude brighter than any confirmed cometary fireball that I have heard of. That is not to say that it is not possible, just not very likely.

Just for comparison here are videos of the recent Utah meteor (18/11/09) and the Edmonton/Alberta fireball/meteorite(20/11/08):

In the latter case, meteorites were recovered after the fireball and found to be of Asteroidal origin.


I'll try and address some of the comments posted here while I was writing this post in the next few hours, but it's getting late here, and I could use some sleep right now.

I will say this though: if you have any questions look at the more recent threads I posted in the list I posted above. Many, if not all your questions have been answered there.

There does not appear to be any evidence to suggest that events like this one are on the increase, although there are always some variations in their frequency. Like anything in nature, from time to time you get a good or a bad year, and some variation is to be expected. It does seem on the face of it that there are many more of these events, but that is mostly because many went unreported previously. I summed it up in this thread here: Fireball and flash in the sky alarms Utahns

Either way, this means more data that could help protect us against the really big and potentially dangerous rocks out there. Asteroids this are probably only in the 1-10m size range, but it's the 50+ m range where we start to get in to dangerous territory.

In the vast majority of cases (even 10 m + sized objects as long as they are not made of metal), our atmosphere is very good at stopping them pretty much dead in their tracks. In the vast majority of cases these objects are not very dense, and quite weak, so they simply explode when they slam into the denser parts of our atmosphere, which is where all the light comes from. The energy released in the Utah event was estimated to be equivalent to around 0.5-1 kilo tonne of TNT.

posted on Nov, 25 2009 @ 05:31 AM
I see at least one meteor on any given clear night. I live in an area of durban south africa that has little light pollution. You have to kno where to look. On one night last year, during october/november, i saw my record of 13 in one night. This inspired me to get an astronomy book, mostly to track meteor showers year round. One thing i must say is that although certain showers happen in certain areas/constelations, my observations have shown deviations. Watchin for taurids one night i saw more action around orion than anywhere. I think it depends more on their incoming trajectory. /god damnit, gotta get to work. I'l hav to leave it there. Soz

Posted Via ATS Mobile:

posted on Nov, 25 2009 @ 11:40 AM
Does anyone really believe in the "shooting down missiles" theory? Not this cat.

posted on Nov, 25 2009 @ 12:01 PM

Originally posted by PreyBird
Does anyone really believe in the "shooting down missiles" theory? Not this cat.

I didn't see any theory.
Any link.
I assume all experts will be posting about meteors and avoiding
any alternative theories.

posted on Nov, 25 2009 @ 12:22 PM
I think fireballs/meteors are showing up on camera more than ever simply because there are more cameras than ever.

Security cameras and webcams are so cheap that they are becoming ubiquitous, so of course more meteors will be caught on video recordings. I don't have the statistics, but I bet there are at least 5 times the cameras in use today as there were just a few years ago.

[edit on 11/25/2009 by Soylent Green Is People]

posted on Nov, 25 2009 @ 01:20 PM
It is true, we do have many more cameras in use nowadays which in turn is making it possible to capture things on camera more often than we were able too before. Obviously this is happening with the meteorites or whatever we are seeing. I myself will have to reserve judgment until I see a more detailed report about what is actually being seen.

posted on Nov, 25 2009 @ 01:53 PM
OMG!!! is the Master Chief!!!

now, I think it's just a meteor, nothing more, yet it looks awesome.
hope no one got hit or hurt...

edit: could it be, an in a more Stargate SG-1 note, that it was some sort of debries, along with the one on 22?

[edit on 25/11/09 by Jim.Hero]

posted on Nov, 25 2009 @ 03:27 PM
^^^ lol

ive personally never heard of anything reported after these have hit. maybe its just me. is this becoming more or an occurence or is it the cameras as said before. any other time youd have to be in the right place at the right time kinda thing.

it would be amazing to see in person.

posted on Nov, 25 2009 @ 04:24 PM

Originally posted by Bean328
it would be amazing to see in person.

I saw the famous "Peekskill Meteor" pass through my Pennsylvania sky back in 1992. It was quite amazing to (1) simply that fireball, and (2) be a witness to an event that is (relatively) famous.

posted on Nov, 25 2009 @ 05:26 PM

I wonder if there is any statistics on the number of fireball detected each year. Is the trend increasing?

You can find some statistics and fireball reports here:

Another fireball database here:

Keep in mind that statistics including this years haul won't be available for some time, and that a raw comparison of data from previous years will not be statistically valid without a proper statistical analysis since there are many factors to take into account (more people observing/reporting etc).

Could it be planet X disturbing the Oort cloud?

Well there's no proof of planet X, and these objects tend to originate in the Asteroid belt anyway. The Oort cloud is where we get our comets, and therefore cometary meteor showers from.

I don't think we need a planet X anyway. The asteroid belt is quite capable of kicking rocks our way on it's own

Red and Purple flaming could be lithium and potassium

It could... except that where meteors are concerned there is no flame since there is not enough oxygen to support combustion at the altitudes meteors are luminous at.

The way in which a meteor produces light, is by ionization of the air around it mostly. The light that we see is produced when the kinetic energy imparted by the meteor slamming into air molecules excites those atoms (molecules break up into ions), elevating them to higher energy states, which then decay and emit photons of light in the process. The wavelength of the light depends on the element involved.

Some of the light is emitted from atoms ablated from the meteor, but the vast majority is the air glowing. Oxygen, when it's excited emits light at the 557.7 nm wavelength (green), and Nitrogen emits light in the red wavelengths. The speed also affects which spectral emission lines are seen.

Here is some reading on the subject:

The atmospheric conditions as well as individual perception can also influence the colors reported. Seeing the event through clouds for example may give it a purple tinge

I'm curious about the angle and direction of entry.

Me too. Keep in mind, apparent angle and direction are dependent on the observers position relative to the meteor. A classic demonstration of this can be found here (scroll down to the bottom), if you compare videos of the same fireball event taken at different locations.

You have to kno where to look. On one night last year, during october/november, i saw my record of 13 in one night. This inspired me to get an astronomy book, mostly to track meteor showers year round. One thing i must say is that although certain showers happen in certain areas/constelations, my observations have shown deviations. Watchin for taurids one night i saw more action around orion than anywhere. I think it depends more on their incoming trajectory.

Great to hear, but I think you may be making a few basic mistakes, and I'm pretty sure we can improve your counts...

The best thing you can do is pick the times that you observe carefully. If you observe during the peak nights of major annual meteor showers, it should not be too hard to notch up one or two hundred a night, even in an average year with some of the more active meteor showers.

Here you can find a calender with all the major showers listed. The Geminids in December are going to be one of the best showers you can observe from the southern hemisphere, along with the Quadrantids (January )and Lyrids (April). Keep an eye out for my posts in the Space Exploration forum. I try to post whenever there is a major shower due.

Your observations that meteors from a particular shower appear in a particular area of the sky seem a little confused.

The Geminids meteor shower for example, is named because Geminid meteors will always appear to travel away from (or radiate from) a small area of sky that lies in the constellation Gemini during the peak of the Geminid meteor shower. Most Geminid meteors that you see would actually appear well away from Gemini, but the direction they all travel is directly away from Gemini. In other words, if you mentally extend the path of the meteor backwards in the sky, that mental line should intersect Gemini at some point, if the meteor is a Geminid.

In this photograph taken during the Leonid meteor storm of 2001, you can see where the Leonid radiant is quite clearly.

Another example

This effect occurs since all meteors travel in an orbit around our sun, and in parallel to each other. They basically follow along the same orbit as the comet from which they were ejected.

Here is a short animation that demonstrates how Earth interacts with a dust trail, in this case composed of Leonid meteoroids.

I'm not sure how you are observing, but it's good that you already somewhere that has very little light pollution. If you are not already, I would also recommend finding a spot with good all round views (ie few obstacles to spoil your view of the horizon), and then lay down on a camp-bed/sun-lounger. If you then look directly up, you will pick up many more meteors in the sky, since your peripheral vision can detect motion right the way down to the horizon, and all around you.

The other thing is timing...

In most cases, meteor showers will become more intense over the course of the night, since the intensity depends partly on how high the radiant is in the sky, and in the case of most major showers, the radiant is only high in the sky by the end of the night. So if you can observe in the hours just before dawn, you will usually see more than you would observing before midnight. The difference can be very pronounced, so try to make the most of the morning hours where possible.

Keep in mind that there are often multiple meteor showers active at any one time, and it is rare to spend an hour observing at any time of year and see meteors belonging to only a single shower. You will also see random/sporadic meteors in varying amounts depending on the time of year/night that you observe.

The other bit of advice I'd give to anyone who wants to learn more about observing meteors is to join the METEOROBS mailing list, and don't be afraid to ask questions or submit your observations! Researchers rely on observations from amateur observes all around the world.

Hope you continue to observe, and catch a few nice showers down there in SA.

Clear skies!

ive personally never heard of anything reported after these have hit. maybe its just me. is this becoming more or an occurence or is it the cameras as said before. any other time youd have to be in the right place at the right time kinda thing.

it would be amazing to see in person.

More cameras plays a large part. It just isn't news worthy without footage. Fireballs just as big as this one were occurring previously and almost never reported. More cameras and observers submitting reports also has something to do with it, so even if it doesn't mate the news (which is the vast majority of cases), there are more fireballs observed than ever before.

Put bluntly, we have/are only just becoming aware how often events like this occur. Since they don't make craters in the ground, there is no geological record as there is for the much rarer and larger events, so we have to rely on data that is collected by the public as well as fireball "all-sky camera networks".

You are definitely right about having to be in the right place at the right time. Although these events may take place every week somewhere in the world, the world is a big place, and most of it is uninhabited and/or ocean, with one half in daylight at any given time, so for any person seeing an event like this is once in a life time.

Personally, I have never seen one that bright in real life, but I have seen meteors that were brighter than a full moon on a couple of occasions, and jaw dropping in their own right.

Admittedly, the vast majority were seen by pure luck, when I looked up at the right time, but you can easily get to see meteors of the brightness I have seen if you are determined, and spend a few nights a year observing around the peaks of meteor showers like the Perseids and Leonids.

[edit on 25-11-2009 by C.H.U.D.]

posted on Nov, 25 2009 @ 05:33 PM
This blog has a nice collection of witness reports, some of which are great to read!

Received from Dan at Venetia Game Reserve near Polokwane:
Was sitting outside with a couple of others around 11pm having a last beer before bed by the fire when all of a sudden the sky started to light up and within 5 seconds or so the whole sky was alight as though it was midday. We all looked at each other in utter confusion as it was as though the sun had come up again. As it started to go dark again we looked up and saw a streak of flame right across the sky as a huge meteor had passed directly overhead. We all stared in amazement and felt our heart beating so fast. Then around a minute or so later as we were calming down there was a massive explosion as though a bomb had gone off right next to camp and a deep rumbling. The rumbling got louder and louder and we could feel the ground shuddering beneath us. I have to admit we all thought we were going to die in a blaze of fiery shockwaves. After a few minutes it started to subside but can't believe how scary the whole thing was. No confirmed reports yet but they think the meteor (or what was left of it which wasn't burnt up in the atmosphere) might have landed near Polokwane which is only a couple of hours from where we are. How cool is that!!! How many people can say they saw a huge meteor streak across the sky directly overhead?! Was like something from a disaster movie!!!

Via Email:

We were sitting on the patio in Centurion at about 22:50 when I saw something I thought was a normal "shooting star". The next moment I saw it was a light-green/blue coloured object travelling towards earth. As soon as it dissapeared over the horizon it left an orange/red fire trail from the horizon to about 60degrees angle. It was so bright that I thought someone shot a green military flare over the roof but when I saw the fire trail, I knew it was a meteorite. We all got chills and thought it landed close by because of the brightness.

Was out in a field about 30 of us(cops) were looking for suspects. When the sky lit up only a few of us saw the whole thing from when it entered the atmosphere to where it burnt out. although we were all waiting for the impact it was extremely close!!! Apparently if there were anything left it fell near Middelburg or Witbank.
Just glad I got to experience something that awesome!!!!

Lots more like that at the link above, as well as some maps showing the trajectory the object is thought to have taken.


I was driving with a friend down Malibonge and we had just reached Hyperion and there was a half light that expanded like a circle and then daylight, I commented lightening and then turned around to see this massive red and orange trail against the sky only thing was it was going up the sky not down, it was huge at that was 10.55

It looked like the images from smallville and transcribed a massive arc across the sky from Pretoria to Edenvale from below the cloud level and then just disappeared above the cloud bank that was there

the size of that thing that I saw if it was a meteor would have made a hole the size of acre somewhere so I do not buy the meteor story

It must have been the biggest thing I have ever seen move across the sky

Gavin Tonks on November 23, 2009, 10:32 am

Midge Wood says:
November 25, 2009 at 22:07

Myself & seven guests were at Rock Camp in Mashatu, Tuli Block in Botswana from 19th Nov to 24th Nov 2009. After our Game Drive and a braai on Saturday night the 21st, we were outside playing a bird CD calling the Pearl Spotted Owl. There was myself, my daughter, her boyfriend, my brother-in-law & two of the resident Game Rangers.

I was walking down a path to a dead Leadwood tree where I know the Owls like to perch. I was walking due south,when suddenly I saw the horison light up almost as if the sun was rising. Within a second or two the whole sky had litten up, as if daylight. It then momentarily turned an orange hue and went back to total darkness. The bush went into a deathly silence. No frogs, insects or birds. A deathly silence.

We were all stunned and did not totally understand what exactly had happened. We all admitted to having goose bumps but went about our task at hand, looking for the Pearl Spotted Owl, which by now were all around us in the trees.

I realised that something desperately unusual had happened and looked at my watch. It was 10h50 in the night.

About 5 to 10 minutes later, as I was entering the main building of Rock Camp, there was the most amazing explosion in the sky. It sounded like nothing I have ever heard before.

Two of the people with me were facing North when the sky lit up and they both said that they saw a red streak in the sky, very wide going south to north before the darkness returned.


Just to remind everyone, it's not unusual for bright fireballs to seem to be allot closer than they actually are, and most large fireballs like this one are often at least 20+ km (if not 30+) above the ground when they cease to be luminous, so it's unlikely anyone would have actually seen anything hit the ground.

It takes a somewhat larger/harder/faster object to punch through our atmosphere and make it to the ground with any significant energy left, and those are much rarer than small asteroids like this one. The last time something of that scale took place was in Tunguska in 1908, and events of this kind happen perhaps once every 50-500 years.

[edit on 25-11-2009 by C.H.U.D.]

posted on Nov, 25 2009 @ 06:25 PM
reply to post by TeslaandLyne

I assume all experts will be posting about meteors and avoiding
any alternative theories.

It's more than just theory though. If these are some kind of intelligent craft/beings, then why are they crashing into our atmosphere and exploding? That's not too intelligent if you ask me! And why are they made out of rock mainly?

If you are saying these are aliens disguising themselves as rocks, then where are all the real rocks, and why do they behave as you would expect real rocks to behave when they enter our atmosphere?

Don't let me stop you from posting any theories you may have, but they will not hold much water unless you can back them up with evidence that stands up to scrutiny.

posted on Nov, 25 2009 @ 06:28 PM
reply to post by Jim.Hero

edit: could it be, an in a more Stargate SG-1 note, that it was some sort of debries, along with the one on 22?

You mean a junk re-entry?

It's going too fast to be junk. The upper range is about 10 or 11 km/s for objects in orbit. Anything above this is "escape velocity" and an object orbiting at this speed will leave Earth orbit and enter a solar orbit.

This one was way faster, at least 20 km/s if not closer to 50 km/s. Junk takes around a minute to cross the entire sky, and can often be seen to break up, with some pieces trailing behind it. The character of this meteor is completely different, and typical of mid-higher velocity meteors. It's nothing like a re-entry.

Here's a good example:

[edit on 25-11-2009 by C.H.U.D.]

posted on Nov, 25 2009 @ 08:22 PM
reply to post by C.H.U.D.

awesome explanation, thanks.
But no, not garbage reentry... just plain good ol' sci-fi spaceship debries...
just a thought...

posted on Nov, 25 2009 @ 10:02 PM
reply to post by Jim.Hero

You're welcome Jim,

Well junk is junk. Whatever the source, it would still obey the laws of physics.

"Alien junk"? why though?

A little like asking, if some rain could be due to "the rare blue-spotted dragon" that breaths water (instead of fire like a normal dragon), when we already have pretty good cause to believe that clouds of precipitation might actually be responsible IMO.

If I actually saw a blue-spotted dragon, or credible footage of one, then I would say it's worth re-examining the theory that clouds of precipitation are the cause of rain!

Likewise, I have yet to see any credible evidence for a cause of meteors other than space rocks and junk, plus my own experience observing meteors fits with theory that these things are rocks from space. Someone would have had to have gone to a lot of trouble to deceive me (and a lot of other people) in the 10+ years that I've been observing and studying meteors.

What more can I say? I've seen perhaps 10,000 meteors in total, and I'm pretty confident I can identify another one, albeit an exceptionally bright one.

It's not something I expect people to take for granted, which is why I actively encourage everyone here who has their doubts, to both look and learn for themselves. Compare what you see out there to the info/links that I have posted.

The nice thing about science is that it's possible to demonstrate for yourself that something has a basis in fact, although it can't disprove the existence of blue-spotted dragons.

[edit on 25-11-2009 by C.H.U.D.]

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