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What's Hitting Earth?

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posted on Mar, 1 2011 @ 07:23 PM
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March 1, 2011: Every day about 100 tons of meteoroids -- fragments of dust and gravel and sometimes even big rocks – enter the Earth's atmosphere. Stand out under the stars for more than a half an hour on a clear night and you'll likely see a few of the meteors produced by the onslaught. But where does all this stuff come from? Surprisingly, the answer is not well known.

Now NASA is deploying a network of smart cameras across the United States to answer the question, What's Hitting Earth?

Did that meteor you saw blazing through the sky last night come from the asteroid belt? Was it created in a comet's death throes? Or was it a piece of space junk meeting a fiery demise?

Source: NASA


This has been a long time coming IMO. Meteors and fireballs have never been as well researched and funded as other areas of space research, but it seems as though this is gradually changing. Out of all the areas of space research, this one raises real questions about our continued future and security on this planet - and there are still very few camera networks that are devoted to detecting objects entering Earth's atmosphere, although the number is growing.

We still have lots of questions to answer regarding this subject, but with NASA and an ever increasing number of these camera networks being set up by ammeters and educational establishments, we should get a better idea of what is happening soon.

In the mean time, to keep things in perspective, although big fireballs can be very impressive, it's exceptionally rare for them to be big enough to cause significant damage on the ground, and even more rare for one to come along that would be large enough to affect us on a planetary scale. Fortunately, its the big ones that do the most damage that are easiest to spot before hand.


There is also a chance for ATSers to get involved, as NASA are looking for locations to position new cameras:


Here are the criteria that must be met for a location to be considered as a camera site:

1. Location east of the Mississippi River
2. Clear horizon (few trees)
3. Few bright lights (none close to camera)
4. Fast internet connection




On a related note...

I know that there are a few people out there who think that we are "facing impending doom", since there seems to be so many more of these "objects"/fireballs recently, but the truth is that we are only just starting to record and report a significant proportion of the actual number of fireball sized events that occur. Until we have enough cameras running, over a wide area, and for a bit of time, we won't have any "baseline" with which to compare and say, "rates might be going up" or "rates might be going down".

It can sometimes seem like they are going up, when there has been a bunch of fireball reports in a short space of weeks or days, but these spates of fireballs have probably been occurring for longer than we have been about.

The only thing that we can say for sure, is that we have been getting better at reporting these events (and collating them all in one place like ATS for people to see), thanks to the internet in part, and more people and cameras keeping an eye out for them. I have been interested in this subject for over a decade, and as well as spending many hours each year out under the stars, I also swap reports with many others who do the same.

I've only been observing for a decade, but some of the more experienced observers have been observing the skies for many decades. I have not heard anyone saying that it seems that fireball rates have increased over the years, and if anything, in my experience, I was seeing more fireballs back when I started than I have been lately. Of course that is only my own personal impression, but it can't be ignored that so many other experienced observers feel the same way about the matter.

I'd encourage anyone who has not ever spent a night out under the stars looking for meteors to give it a try sometime, as it can be a very rewarding experience. The best time to look is during one of the major annual meteor showers, but you can usually see meteors on any clear night. How many you see can depend on many factors including light pollution and personal perception.


Related links
NASA’s All Sky Fireball Network home page
NASA begins hunt for new meteor showers
The American Meteor Society (includes a link to their fireball report form)
The International Meteor organization (includes a link to their fireball report form)
METEOROBS (The meteor observing mailing list)
edit on 1-3-2011 by C.H.U.D. because: fixed broken link




posted on Mar, 1 2011 @ 07:26 PM
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NASA will have to work double time to edit out all the UFO footage caught by these cameras.



posted on Mar, 1 2011 @ 08:18 PM
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yawn
another yawn



posted on Mar, 1 2011 @ 08:59 PM
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reply to post by C.H.U.D.
 

Good thread. This seems long overdue, but I'm glad they are finally getting around to it.

I've seen a few meteor showers and they are impressive sights.



posted on Mar, 7 2011 @ 02:44 PM
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reply to post by C.H.U.D.
 


There is also a chance for ATSers to get involved, as NASA are looking for locations to position new cameras:

Here are the criteria that must be met for a location to be considered as a camera site:

1. Location east of the Mississippi River
2. Clear horizon (few trees)
3. Few bright lights (none close to camera)
4. Fast internet connection


pssst psssst.... I got ALL four

Im just sayin


SIGH - never mind im a dork and forgot my east and west calculations (its a b&tch getting old )
edit on 7-3-2011 by Nekbet because: wrong info



posted on Mar, 7 2011 @ 02:44 PM
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reply to post by C.H.U.D.
 


There is also a chance for ATSers to get involved, as NASA are looking for locations to position new cameras:

Here are the criteria that must be met for a location to be considered as a camera site:

1. Location east of the Mississippi River
2. Clear horizon (few trees)
3. Few bright lights (none close to camera)
4. Fast internet connection


pssst psssst.... I got ALL four

Im just sayin



posted on Mar, 7 2011 @ 02:45 PM
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reply to post by C.H.U.D.
 


There is also a chance for ATSers to get involved, as NASA are looking for locations to position new cameras:

Here are the criteria that must be met for a location to be considered as a camera site:

1. Location east of the Mississippi River
2. Clear horizon (few trees)
3. Few bright lights (none close to camera)
4. Fast internet connection


pssst psssst.... I got ALL four

Im just sayin



posted on Mar, 7 2011 @ 02:47 PM
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haha, and its Nekbet!! DO IT!!! would be awesome if you did



posted on Mar, 7 2011 @ 02:54 PM
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reply to post by cabuki
 


Cabuki... hehehe Imagine the odds


and can someone pretty please fix all the crazy duplicate posts that occured - I promise promise to never try to post while im at work again - That was crazy

Will check in when i get home to do more reading



posted on Mar, 7 2011 @ 04:22 PM
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Originally posted by Nekbet
SIGH - never mind im a dork and forgot my east and west calculations (its a b&tch getting old )


Don't let that put you off. There are amateurs out there who have done it themselves. Here is one example.



posted on Mar, 7 2011 @ 04:27 PM
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I saw that awhile back,and I also was wondering how many blacked out areas there would be.



posted on Mar, 7 2011 @ 07:05 PM
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reply to post by C.H.U.D.
 


Finally home.. and ya got me studying already
!!!!!!!


enjoying the link... a lot to read and understand... Imma thinkin to get something worth the view to everyone.. I would need to invest a lot of time and money

but not counting things out yet... haven't finished reading everything yet


And thanks to the one that fixed all my crazy duplicated posts.... my face is still flushed from embarrassment :/



posted on Mar, 7 2011 @ 07:20 PM
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Well, the original poster states, we are not seeing more. I disagree. From January, I've probably witnessed at least 5 or 6. Begining of January there was a small shower that I witnessed a few, then a few intermittent, 1 large fireball before the Philly gas explosion. My first time to see one that large and close to Earth.
I'm positive I witnessed the flashes from the satellite Nanosail-D, and the other evening a small one through Orion's belt. Now I just need to see one of the green ones talked about recently..hehe.
Somoen posted in the green meteor thread that it takes alot of outside time to see anything and he is right.



posted on Mar, 7 2011 @ 08:28 PM
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reply to post by mugger
 



You might well be seeing more personally, but perhaps you just got lucky, and happened to be looking up when there was activity.

The point is that the mass consensus is not seeing the same "elevated" rates that you say you are seeing, and there are lots of experienced observers out there. Those of us who have consistently observed specifically for meteors over many years, will generally have a better idea of what constitutes elevated activity, would you not say?

Everyone who observes meteors (accidentally or intentionally) will have personal "ups n downs". In 1998 I saw a few hundred fireballs in one single night. My personal impression at the time was similar to yours, and indeed the rate had gone up unexpectedly and briefly, but that is just the nature of meteors. Lots of others saw what I saw too. After that I started actively watching meteors and I discovered that there were lots of meteors about anyway, if you happen to look at the right time.

Incidentally, you mentioned "the start of January" which coincides with the Quadrantids meteor shower, which is one of the strongest meteor showers of the year.

Keep watching the sky, and you will see lots more.



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