Welcome to the shooting gallery: fireball incidence 2005:1.28/day 2011:4.94/day

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posted on Jan, 23 2011 @ 10:47 PM
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First of all, thx very much for this thread. I think I'm still under the 20 post threshold and haven't seen any threads that hit the nail on the head like this one has. Been wanting to share my observations with somebody but unfortunately everyone I know in the physical world would be like throwing pearls to swine; if you catch my drift.

Last year 2010 I saw 2 fireballs which up unto this time I've never seen anything like it in all 52 years I've been alive. Very extraordinary. They both occurred while I was driving to work very early in the morning; and something I consider exceptionally strange. They both were on a North to South trajectory. Has anyone noticed this as well from reports they've seen?

The first occurred last February on a clear starry night. I was driving South and just happened to look up. It looked like a sparkler in the sky throwing off huge white sparks as it went. No other colors. Watched for 5-6 seconds or long enough to watch the sparkling affect fade away and seen an orange/red ball briefly before it disappeared from view. Appeared to me it just grazed the atmosphere and continued out into space. But the fact that I could see it as an orange ball makes me believe there must've been substantial mass to the thing. That was the first one.

The second happened in November and dawn was just beginning to break. Enough light in the sky that stars in the eastern horizon were no longer visible but not nearly sunrise yet. I just turned off the interstate driving east and turned South. As I began to accelerate I glanced over to the eastern horizon once more and caught a glowing orange fireball leaving a trail across the sky I couldn't stop watching it as my first sense was it must be a plane or something. It continued to streak across the dawn sky and for what appeared to be its altitude it was moving at an incredible clip. Again, I watched for what seemed like only 5-6 seconds. The end of which the fireball switched off and glowing orange/red ball emerged and continued on the same trajectory, but only for a brief few moments before it too disappeared from view. And again it didn't seem like it was going to impact earth at all or I suspect the fireball would've just kept getting larger.

Thank you for letting me share my experience. Any suggestions on why the North to South trajectory? Buckle up y'all, Katie bar the door; it's going to be a bumpy ride.




posted on Jan, 24 2011 @ 12:00 PM
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As of yesterday, the 23rd, there have been 105 fireballs reported. Not all reports from the 23rd are in yet, I Ithink, tho...it usually takes a day or so to filter in.

Average for today is now 4.57 per day.

Some comments on firealls from the last 3 days, from AMS reports:


Second Fireball in one night!! At a friend's house stargazing and it dropped out of the sky. Whoo hoo!



I am not completely sure of the time...I believe i t to be between 6:00am and 6:30. The moon was present in the sky also. The meteorite? came quickly and then exploded and gave off a noise like a bottle rocket.



Bright moving very fast. We saw 3 very similar obj ects in the space of about 10 minutes. Sky was clear, only low level scattered clouds. Think the overcast has spread and have not seen anything since.



Seemd the same colour as the phosphourescent (sp?) street lights - an orange and as bright as a fire. It kept glowing for a long time and seemed finally to move. We drove for about 10 minutes watching it fade out and then light up again. We got into downtown Duncan and it ended. Event 100



I didn't notice it right away, but I did notice i t when it disappeared, just happened to be looking right at it when it did. It looked to me to be out over the Pacific Ocean somewhere around 46 degrees 15 min North. It didn't seem to be moving when I noticed it disappear. Larger than a star, and larger than when I have seen Venus before. Saw it after 7 pm PST, closer to 8 or 9 pm PST 22 Jan 2011. It was over the tops of the trees that were to the west of me (trees about 50-60' and about 250' away from me). It was strange for me for I have never seen anything like this before.



It moved slower and brighter than any meteor I hav e seen before. Truly magnificent.


These are all seperate event reports...what is interesting to me are the two reports of multiple fireballs, indicating that the reported fireball count is lower than the actual number of fireballs (scary thought), since both multiples are reported as a single instance.



posted on Jan, 24 2011 @ 01:20 PM
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More of last night's reports are in.

Count is now 111 events reported, average is.4.83 per day.

Comments:


My dog barked at it.



Nothing important, but it certainly made me happy. I just walked outside to look at the constellations and I saw it going between Ursa Major and Ursa Minor. Around where Draco is. Almost like it was a burst of the dragon's fire.



To my untrained eye, almost looked like a SCUD on terminal.



posted on Jan, 25 2011 @ 01:17 PM
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Today's count: 117 fireballs reported by 314 people.

2011 daily average: 4.68.


I think it may have come down in the ocean off St. Amands or Lido Key. It was definitely north of the Ritz Carlton in Sarasota, which is right on the bay.



Instead of a terminal flash, this one started with an INITIAL, yellow-white flash


For comparison, in all of January 2005 only 21 fireballs were reported by 40 people, but the totals might be low because it might represent initial online presence, but see below for more on that.

Jan 2006: 40 events, 86 reports

Jan 2007: 66 events, 196 reports

Jan 2008: 40 events, 73 reports

Jan 2009: 91 events, 250 reports

Jan 2010: 33 events, 56 reports

It would appear that we're running high by historical January standards.

While bearing in mind that weather complicates things, if we assume that things like degree of overcast averages out over the continent and the years, and acknowledging that the usual track of fireballs covers several states, I think we can say that the data seem to be trending upward in reality, not as a result of reporting artifacts.Since the American Meteor Society has been collecting reports for a century or so, I'm pretty sure the internet and cellphones are not responsible for higher incident numbers, that sort of bump would have come from the earlier landline phone system. Against those technological advances I submit that modern light pollution washes out more fireballs than surveillience cameras catch. And I submit that there is actually a smaller porportion of the population who even notice the sky now than ever before. There are just too many distractions at night to pay much attention to the sky unless something really unusual is going on.

Think about it...look around you; how many people do you know who could even tell you whether the moon would be up tonight without checking online first?

So I'm not really buying the "more observers" theory.

I'm sticking with the "more fireballs" theory.

Gonna be an interesting year, I think.

Anyone care to bet whether we get a Tunguska-like event sometime this year?



posted on Jan, 26 2011 @ 11:38 AM
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Today's count:

123 incidents reported by 331 people; average: 4.92/day


I fell like this might have hit the ground somewha t intact. It was not moving all that fast and it glowed almost to the ground. In fact, ground objects might have obscurred my view. Hard to tell, but it might have been between 2-4 miles away.



What we saw seemed to fall gently to the ground an d it seemed to have gone into the Sam Houston National Forest.


As always, these are seperate incidents the comments refer to.



posted on Jan, 30 2011 @ 12:51 PM
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Numbers for the 29th: 145 fireballs reported by 382 people.

Average: 5 fireballs a day.


I had just gone out to my back yard with my dog an d he was barking at a neighbor and I was telling him to shut up when I saw the snow light up. I immediately looked up and saw the fireball. By the time I saw it, the fireball was just exiting Gemini halfway between Pollux and Alhena (at the ecliptic), heading north and losing altitude. My actual view of the fireball lasted only one second but it must have been visible for 2 seconds as I first saw its reflection on the snow before I looked up. Seeing was abysmal ... only the brightest stars of Gemini and Orion were visible to the naked eye. On a good seeing night the apparent magnitude would have been noticeably greater than the -7 I reported.



Speed appeared slower than most meteors I have obs erved, though it could have been going straight away from me.



Too distant for sonic boom or to see fragmentation , but very bright and presumed distance from Carlsbad, NM perhaps south of Pecos, Tx.


If it keeps up like this, just over the US there will be over 1700 fireballs this year...seems to me that's a signficant amount of energy being added to global weather systems.

Not to mention the increased probability of at least one of them being large enough to hit the ground or airburst Tunguska style.



posted on Jan, 30 2011 @ 01:06 PM
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So far, this January is running nearly three times the average number of fireballs observed over the last six years. That average is somewhat skewed by the numbers for 2009, when 91 were reported. If you exclude that year, the average would be 40 per January, or about a fourth of what we've had to date.

I really wonder how much energy that represents.

Anyone have the requisite knowledge of atmospheric physics to figure it out?



posted on Jan, 30 2011 @ 08:37 PM
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Final count through January 29th:

149 fireballs reported by 396 people.

Average for 2011 so far: 5.14 fireballs per day.

Geez...the slope's gone nearly vertical.

I think I'll have a cognac and try not to think about it getting steeper.


It was bright enough in peripheral vision for it t o catch my attention as I was walking my dog. Brightness hard to judge, but initial thoughts were fireworks or a signal flare. I saw a definite arc pattern in the trail and it disappeared quickly during descent. I'm not positive of the amount of cloud cover to the north last night. First such sighting with naked eye. Weirded me out until I started looking online later.



This was a very impressive event for a novice sky gaizer. While the tail was neat the sound was most impressive: I suspect it would be similar to the distant thunder of a nuc explosion. One way or the other I was expecting to come home today and read about a very large hole in the ground!
edit on 30-1-2011 by apacheman because: add reports



posted on Jan, 31 2011 @ 11:18 AM
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Still watching apacheman.

Thanks for the updates.



posted on Jan, 31 2011 @ 01:33 PM
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As of 30 January, so far:

153 incidents reported by 410 people.

Average: 5.10 per day.

I've submitted a query to the site from which I'm extracting this data to see if they can answer the question about how much energy the average fireball adds to the atmosphere, whether the color is an indicator of energy amounts, what the current odds of a Tunguska are given the increased incidence, and how many fireballs within what time frame over how much area would be required to have a perceptable impact on local weather (not climate).

If I get an answer I'll post it here.


I've never seen a meteor this close or bright bef ore, it definitely looked like it was burning!



It didn't appear to break up at all, I watched it looking north until it went over the hill to the east. It appeared to be travelling in a north-east direction.



posted on Feb, 1 2011 @ 01:44 AM
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To place the current rates in context, check this out:

hyperion.cc.uregina.ca...


The Millman Fireball archive (MFA) constitutes a series of fireball observation records, mostly gathered from across Canada, in the time interval from January 1962 to October 1989. The Archive has been named in honour of Dr. Peter Millman who oversaw its initial organization in the early 1960s. The Archive was initially maintained at the National Research Center (NRC) in Ottawa, Canada and was administered through the Associate Committee on Meteorites (ACOM), now the Meteorite and Impacts Advisory Committee (MIAC) to the Canadian Space Agency. The archive is presently housed at Campion College at the University of Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada. The archive consists of 3878 report cards pertaining to 2131 fireball events observed in Canada from 1927 to 1989. A further 410 report cards in the archive relate to 315 fireball events recorded by observers in the United States in the time interval 1962 to 1989.


I added the bolding to highlight the numbers.

hyperion.cc.uregina.ca...


Model predictions based upon the existence of a 7:2 mean motion resonance with Jupiter suggest that in about 20% of Taurid meteoroid stream encounters enhanced numbers of meteors and fireballs should be seen. Here we examine the veracity of the predictions against a set of six temporally overlapping fireball surveys. It is found that in the time interval from1962 to 2002 enhanced, or at least conspicuous, numbers of Taurid fireballs were recorded on all eight occasions predicted by the resonance-controlled, swarm-encounter model. We find evidence for elevated Taurid activity in 1974 and possibly in 1985 as well, indicative, perhaps, of additional stream structure.



In summary, we tentatively suggest that the survey data shown in figure 1 is consistent with there being elevated Taurid activity in all of those years (e.g., 1964, 1971, 1978, 1981, 1988, 1991, 1995 and 1998) predicted by the swarm encounter model of Asher and Clube11. In addition, however, a distinct peak of activity is evident in 1974, corresponding to an apparently ‘missed’ prediction. Likewise, there may have been enhanced levels of Taurid activity in 1985, corresponding, if true, to a second ‘missed’ prediction.


Note that if you continue that series (e.g., 1964, 1971, 1978, 1981, 1988, 1991, 1995 and 1998), it goes 2005, 2012.


The PN, NMS and MORP data sets indicate elevated Taurid activity in 1974, although no swarm encounter was predicted for that year. Slightly enhanced Taurid numbers are also evident in the MFA data for 1974. In contrast, a strong activity peak is evident in the MFA data for 1985. We note, however that in this particular year the annual fireball count for the MFA was fairly small (some 63 fireballs as opposed to the more typical 100); an effect which tends to push the relative Taurid activity term upwards. This being said, the MFA fireball count for October and November in 1985 was definitely elevated compared to surrounding years, there being 27 fireballs reported in 1985 compared to 9 in 1984 and 13 in 1986. The NMS and JSE data sets also indicate slightly elevated Taurid numbers for 1985.


Note the relatively low number of fireballs they are talking about.

Bear in mind that this Canadian data probably doesn't necessarily encompass all the fireballs reported, and the data are spottier the further back in time you go.

That said, it does appear that there has been a significant increase in the number of fireballs over the last two years. If the current numbers don't represent the peak predicted for 2012, then I'm not sure I want to know how many that could be per day...it could get downright scary.



posted on Feb, 2 2011 @ 12:35 PM
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As of 1 Feb 2011: 157 fireballs reported by 422 people.

Average: 4.91 per day.

I wonder how many were missed because of the monster snowstorm?


Never seen this color before light up sky searched news but so far nothing



It was fast but no so fast that I can't follow it . It looked like a fire work but was Much bigger, brighter and no noise like u expect to hear wih it.



posted on Feb, 2 2011 @ 12:50 PM
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posted on Feb, 2 2011 @ 05:54 PM
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If it's not just increasing numbers of people reporting then how about.........

We all know that there is an asteroid belt just past Mars, now whats to say there isn't a large belt, of sorts, round the galaxy. I think it's next year we line up with the centre of the galaxy, and over the last few years we could be slowly moving into this "asteroid belt", next year we could be in the middle of it, and from that point we start getting less sightings/reports over the few years following.

It's just a thought, the problem with that thought is that it takes roughly 200 million years to go round the galaxy once, so we would go through this belt every 100 million years if it was right, so there would be no documented evidence to support it.

I suppose there could be multiple belts, or just lots of random areas of rocks clumped together (which would also explain the gradual build up of reports).
edit on 2/2/11 by woogleuk because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 3 2011 @ 12:41 AM
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Originally posted by apacheman
reply to post by C.H.U.D.
 

I'll see your decade and raise you two: I've been keeping an eye on this subject for over 30 years, along with weather data and various other earth/space subjects.


Well there's keeping an eye on a subject and there's keeping an eye on a subject.

So you've been "keeping an eye" on the subject for 30 years. Judging by your posting profile here on ATS, your interest of this topic started when you started this thread. In the last 800 posts that you made here on ATS, not one has any connection to meteors, or fireballs.

Have a look at my posting history for comparison.

I'll put my 10+ years up against your 30+ years "keeping an eye on the subject" any day of the week.





Originally posted by apacheman
Again, the assumption that more reports =more people watching is a bald assertion without any substantiation.


I didn't actually say that. What I said was


If most meteors are missed, then it follows that an increase in the number of people looking for them will result in an increase of meteors reported.


There is a difference.

There is also no doubt that more people are watching the sky today, and the population is increasing




Originally posted by apacheman
Has the population increased that dramatically since 2005? Has the Internet suddenly blossomed? Personally, I see no evidence supporting the "more watchers" theory.


Dramatically? no, but steadily yes, and yes the internet is sill blooming although perhaps not quite as fast at its peak.


Source: International Telecommunication Union




Originally posted by apacheman

I take exception to the statement that "it can only mean"...it can just as easily mean that there are in fact more of them.


As I posted above, those were not my words. How about stopping trying to put words in my mouth, taking my words out of context, and twisting them around? What I posted was a statement of fact, and one that no one can dispute.

Here is what I said once again:

If most meteors are missed, then it follows that an increase in the number of people looking for them will result in an increase of meteors reported.




Originally posted by apacheman

As a further proof, please read the observer reports and compare the reported penetration depths and magnitudes. Far more are getting deeper into the atmosphere, nearly hitting the ground. Far more are being reported as bigger and brighter than any seen before by people who have seen several over the years.



Actually there is evidence that says otherwise according to the AMS fireball FAQ

Very bright meteors of magnitude -15 or better have been studied which produced no potential meteorites, especially those having a cometary origin.




Originally posted by apacheman

The universe is not exactly a steafy-state place: things change, some patches of space are more thickly populated than others. This is a somple, easily proven fact.


No one ever said it was, and I totally agree that we are going to get the occasional blip in the amount of incoming material, but that is expected and within the norm. To jump the gun and say this is an abnormal increase, which is what you are saying is plain wrong.

I've come across people here on ATS saying the same thing as you since day one, and every time the topic has come up it's been after a "blip" in the rates. Don't you think that if there really was a suspected rise in rates the researchers that are compiling and using this data would notice if there was something odd going on?

I stand by what I said before: an increase in reports on an on-line report form does not = an actual increase in the number of events. The evidence I posted before taken from the METEOROBS mailing list supports what I am saying weather you choose to ignore it or not.



posted on Feb, 3 2011 @ 12:42 AM
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Originally posted by apacheman

Model predictions based upon the existence of a 7:2 mean motion resonance with Jupiter suggest that in about 20% of Taurid meteoroid stream encounters enhanced numbers of meteors and fireballs should be seen. Here we examine the veracity of the predictions against a set of six temporally overlapping fireball surveys. It is found that in the time interval from1962 to 2002 enhanced, or at least conspicuous, numbers of Taurid fireballs were recorded on all eight occasions predicted by the resonance-controlled, swarm-encounter model. We find evidence for elevated Taurid activity in 1974 and possibly in 1985 as well, indicative, perhaps, of additional stream structure.



In summary, we tentatively suggest that the survey data shown in figure 1 is consistent with there being elevated Taurid activity in all of those years (e.g., 1964, 1971, 1978, 1981, 1988, 1991, 1995 and 1998) predicted by the swarm encounter model of Asher and Clube11. In addition, however, a distinct peak of activity is evident in 1974, corresponding to an apparently ‘missed’ prediction. Likewise, there may have been enhanced levels of Taurid activity in 1985, corresponding, if true, to a second ‘missed’ prediction.


Note that if you continue that series (e.g., 1964, 1971, 1978, 1981, 1988, 1991, 1995 and 1998), it goes 2005, 2012.


Actually, there is no close swarm encounter predicted in 2012. The Same authors you quoted above say the following about future Taurid swarm years


If you want data for years beyond the end of this published table, note that the numbers come close to repeating every 61 years. This is because the swarm orbital period happens to be close to 61/18 years. So after the Earth goes around the Sun 61 times, and the swarm 18 times, the relative configuration of Earth and swarm repeats. Example: there was a good swarm encounter in 1954; so there should be one in 2015.

Source: paper by D.J. Asher & S.V.M. Clube (1993) Q. J. R. Astron. Soc. 34, 481-511

If you look at the table then 2012 corresponds to an encounter distance of -28/35 in 1951 where as 2005 was 11 and 1954, which corresponds to 2015 is a distance of -6.So if anything we will be closer to the swarm in 2015, not 2012!

Either way, the likelihood of a large swarm fragment (which are only thought to exist) coming close to Earth is still low, and the Taurid meteor complex represents only a small proportion of the fireballs that occur every year since our orbits cross twice a year, and there are plenty of other fireball sources that occur throughout the year. It doesn't even register on any serious risk assessment like the one I linked to above.



posted on Feb, 3 2011 @ 12:43 AM
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Originally posted by apacheman
indicating that the reported fireball count is lower than the actual number of fireballs


Which is what I said in my second post to this thread.


Originally posted by C.H.U.D.
Well the majority of fireballs and meteors are unseen by people


If you read back through my posts here, you'll see that I did not disagree with the suggestion that we are living in a "cosmic shooting gallery". There is no doubt that we are, and it has always been this way since long before any of us were here. Our heavily cratered moon is testament to that fact.

You acknowledged yourself that we can not be seeing the true number of events that occur, but then you effectively say we can not be getting better at recording/reporting these events, which is a huge assumption to make, and one which anyone with an ounce of intelligence can see to be plain wrong.

Believe it or not there are still people out there who are not connected to the internet, and even more people who are on the internet who have never come across an AMS fireball report form I would bet. Saying that the same number of people had access to/knew where to find the report form back when it first started, is a bit like measuring the number of UFO reports made to ATS when it's forum first became available on-line, and saying that is an accurate measure of UFOs spotted at the time back then.

ATS grows in size every day as more people find out about it, and so does the number of UFO reports because of that. There might well be increases an decreases in the amount of UFO sightings, just as there may well be increases and decreases in the rates of fireballs/meteoroids hitting our atmosphere, but picking them out of the data without taking into account the factors involved won't reveal them to you.




Originally posted by apacheman
Since the American Meteor Society has been collecting reports for a century or so, I'm pretty sure the internet and cellphones are not responsible for higher incident numbers, that sort of bump would have come from the earlier landline phone system.


How could it? Did you ever hear of a "fireball report hotline"?


Originally posted by apacheman
I submit that modern light pollution washes out more fireballs than surveillience cameras catch.


Are you kidding? Based on what you said above I submit that you haven't got a clue about what you are talking about...

Fireballs are relatively bright meteors, and the brighter they are the less. influence light pollution has on seeing them. The definition of a fireball from the AMS website


A fireball is another term for a very bright meteor, generally brighter than magnitude -4, which is about the same magnitude of the planet Venus in the morning or evening sky.


I guess you cant have seen many fireballs, because even a -4 magnitude fireball is very eye catching sight, and will easily cut through any light pollution encountered in a major city. If you can see Jupiter (-2.5), which is easily visible in a city on a relatively clear night, then you're not going to miss a fireball of magnitude -4, which is around 3x as bright.

Sure light pollution washes out the fainter meteors, but the sheer brightness of many fireballs will ensure they are caught on camera no matter what the light pollution. The real problem is getting people to check their overnight footage, and this is where the media/internet are playing more of a part than ever before.


Originally posted by apacheman
And I submit that there is actually a smaller porportion of the population who even notice the sky now than ever before.


If you are comparing modern day life to the early part of the last century, then yes I would agree that in general more of the populous of any major developed country would be less observant of events in the night sky. However I strongly believe that sites like this and other astronomy related web sites are making people more aware of what is going on up there. The internet makes this possible - there were no public forums or sources of info unless you went to your local library or astronomy club before the internet.



Originally posted by apacheman

Anyone care to bet whether we get a Tunguska-like event sometime this year?



Anything is possible, but the probability of another Tunguska coming along this year is relatively low according to D.J. Asher, Mark Bailey, Vacheslav Emel’yanenko and Bill Napier:

EARTH IN THE COSMIC SHOOTING GALLERY

A rough estimate of the rate of such meteorite producing impacts on the Moon is therefore
one per 4,000 years. The implied ‘Tunguska’ impact rate on Earth (taking account of the ratio of
13.5 in surface area between the two bodies, and neglecting gravitational focusing) is therefore
one event every 300 years and probably rather more frequent.


Even if it's closer to one every 150 years, we can probably expect another one this size along sometime in the next 100 years, or the next 20 years, but no one can narrow it down any more than that with any certainty. The chances are that by the time it comes we will be able to do something about it.



posted on Feb, 3 2011 @ 02:59 PM
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reply to post by C.H.U.D.
 


You haven't offered any real proof to support your thesis.

The average number of people reporting each event has gone up slightly over the years, accounting for the more people looking/reporting part.

As far as the surveillance cameras go, I've worked in the security field and have installed a large number of them, and still do on occasion. Most are crappy low-res numbers that can barely see the parking lot, they'll only see the brightest. The background light pollution from most cities severely limits what they see and also what the Mk 1 eyeball can see even when looking.

The Canadian data are merely supporting data that might explain where some of the extra activity is coming from, basically just background and fill-in provided to help with historical context.

Counting posts about a subject area in no way provides a reliable indicator of length of research: as a science fiction fan from childhood, I've had a more-than-usual interest in space, astronomy, and the like all my life. As a shrimper I've had ample opportunity to study the skies far, far from light pollution and spent many a night watching the beauty. As a college instructor I've had the opportunity to discuss this very subject many times with my colleagues who taught astronomy.

What with iphones, tweets, and the internet I see vastly more people with their heads pointing down at a screen than up at the sky, so again, I find it implausible that the numbers are going up due to more people watching.

So I'll stick with the more fireballs theory because there's more evidence to support it than not.

And if there are more, then there will be an increased chance of a Tunguska, not that that means a certainty, just an increased probability. If we do get another, that doesn't necessarily mean any kind of disaster either, because chances are it will hit somewhere not very populated.

But it does appear to be a rising risk, and I prefer to be aware of all potential problems rather than allow them to sneak up on me.

So I'll just report and let folks take from it what they will.



posted on Feb, 3 2011 @ 03:03 PM
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As of 2 Feb 2011: 164 fireballs reported by 429 people.

Average: 4.97 a day.



The size of the fireball was larger than stars or airplane lights in the night sky.



My neighbor told me about this sighting this morni ng. She said the area was so lit up that it almost frightened her...it was so unusual and strange to witness.



I have many pics and videos of meteors over the la st few months in this zip code.


As always, these refer to different events.



posted on Feb, 9 2011 @ 11:49 PM
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Originally posted by apacheman
You haven't offered any real proof to support your thesis.



It's not a "thesis" - it's logic.

I've proved that the data you used is probably flawed due to other factors, and not just an "increase in the number of observers", but things you are obviously not even considering due to an obvious lack of understanding of the subject at hand.

Example 1
You did not take into account that the AMS web report form may have been down for a certain amount of time during its life, which indeed it was for a time last year, resulting in many less reports received. Some were submitted by e-mail instead.



Wayne, to your point, yes the ams fireball reporting form was broken
from approximately Nov 2009 - Jan 28 2010. While reports were still
coming in via email, this would certainly impact the number of total
reports as well as the number of events. Good call.

Source: Mike Hankey posted on METEOROBS

Example 2

Its not just me that thinks this, it's also Bob Lunsford of the AMS amongst others:


The next logical question is what is causing the apparent increase in fireballs seen this month? The key word here is apparent. It could very well be that there is no increase at all, but rather a marked increase in the number of reported fireballs. Mr. Hankey has worked with the AMS in providing an easy way to report fireball sightings and the general public has responded with a record number of reports so far in January. If you look through the last five years that the AMS has available, you will see an increase in every year. The increase is certainly not as dramatic as January 10 vs. January 11, but that again can be attributed to the recent change in format. I am also confident that no matter the number of NEO's in January 2012, there were still be more fireball reports in January 12 vs. January 11.

Interesting subject and I appreciate the contributions of Dirk, Mike, Wayne, and Carl!

Source: Bob Lunsford on METEOROBS

I've bolded the important bits. It's there in black and white, and for everyone to see Rob Lunsford said "The key word here is apparent" in relation to the recent increase in fireballs.

Later on he continues: "If you look through the last five years that the AMS has available, you will see an increase in
every year.The increase is certainly not as dramatic as January 10 vs. January 11, but that again can be attributed to the recent change in format."


If you make it easier to report, more people will report, making it look like there is an increase in fireballs is what he is basically saying there.

Did you say you were a college instructor? I find that hard to believe, and sad if it's true.



Originally posted by apacheman
As far as the surveillance cameras go, I've worked in the security field and have installed a large number of them, and still do on occasion. Most are crappy low-res numbers that can barely see the parking lot, they'll only see the brightest. The background light pollution from most cities severely limits what they see and also what the Mk 1 eyeball can see even when looking.


Resolution (within reason) should not make much difference. On the other hand, you can now get a very light sensitive and quite high resolution camera (although perhaps not a patch on the best) which will be easily capable of picking up a fireball in city light pollution, and it will cost peanuts. It sounds like the camera systems you installed are now outdated, but they are gradually being replaced by the newer, more sensitive cams.

I also know quite a bit about cameras and light pollution, having photographed hundreds, if not thousands of meteors, both from big (10 million+ sized) cities, as well as dark sky observing sites.

I use mostly cameras with CMOS sensors to take stills, but have also used CCDs, so I am well aware of how sensitive cameras are to the light emitted by meteors, and how light pollution affects it.

Since light pollution builds up over the time of an exposure, the shorter the exposure the less light pollution there will be in the frame. CCTV at bog standard 1/24 second exposures easily has the advantage over the long (multi-second) exposures I usually use, and I know from my own experience that fireball class meteors are easily caught (providing the camera is pointing the right way) without being washed out and lost in the light pollution.

There's no doubt that light pollution limits what you can see in a city, but unless you are staring almost directly into a bright light you can easily see a fireball class meteor on a relatively clear night, and photographing them is just as easy to do with even a cheap camera, as long as its pointing in the right direction. Obviously most CCTV cameras won't be.

The price of cameras keeps coming down, which means more people buying more cameras which are better than the cameras of yesterday. It's not just parking lots that use them either. Many private households are buying them too. I've bought 2 cameras (CCTV) myself in the last year, and intend to buy more. I'm looking for a nice multi-input capture card at the moment.

Not only that, but in the last few years, the number of meteor/all-sky camera networks being set up has kept increasing, in the US as well as the rest of the world. This one in Italy caught a bright fireball on camera just the other night. source here. It's some of the best footage I've ever seen of a bright fireball, and it would probably not have been caught on camera if it had occurred a few years ago, and certainly not in this much detail.

Can you show me evidence to the contrary? I don't think so...





Originally posted by apacheman

What with iphones, tweets, and the internet I see vastly more people with their heads pointing down at a screen than up at the sky, so again, I find it implausible that the numbers are going up due to more people watching.


I would argue the opposite - there are now i-phone apps which help you find stars and even ones that can track satellites. There will always be a segment of society that are too busy with whatever they are doing to look at the sky, but astronomy on the web, and people's interest in it continues to grow all the time in my experience. It's a multi-million dollar industry and growing fast.

Try googling the question "what telescope should I get" and check the number of hits. I hear that question all the time, and yet you claim more people are not looking up at the sky? Once again you obviously have no idea what you are talking about.



Originally posted by apacheman
So I'll stick with the more fireballs theory because there's more evidence to support it than not.


Stick with what ever theory you want, no one is stopping you, but you might like to stick to subjects that you actually understand, or do some basic research before you pronounce that we must somehow be experiencing something unusual on a public forum and make yourself look a bit foolish when someone else comes along who actually knows something about the subject. Its kind of funny that in my experience it's the newcomers to the subject who always say "fireball rates appear to be increasing", and it's usually just after a spate of fireball sightings. There's no reason to suppose that there have not been times in the past like this, and we are all still here aren't we?





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