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
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: adsabs.harvard.edu...
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.
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
is quite clearly.
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.
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
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.
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.]