reply to post by Rezlooper
Well yes, people like myself would be the exception to the rule, but that is mainly because we put in the observing time. Anyone else could do it if
they had the motivation.
So given that I have seen lots of fireballs, none of which (as far as I know) have made the media, consider this...
Even under ideal observing conditions, such as observing far out at sea where there are no obstructions to obscure the view of the sky in any
direction, the amount of sky a single person could monitor would be a small fraction of 1% of the total sky area of the world.
Also, although I put in more observing time than most, it's still very little time - perhaps as little as 24-36 hrs per year in an average year.
This means I would have missed the vast majority of fireballs that occur in the world every year (not surprisingly). I am just one observer, but there
are others, as well as cameras, but even so, most of the world is ocean or sparely populated/unpopulated, so it's certain that vast quantities of
fireballs go totally unnoticed.
We are starting to get better at noticing them as well as reporting them though, thanks to both better/cheaper technology and more people being aware
that you can report fireballs - it's a fairly gradual process though.
You said that you yourself had no direct experience of an increase in fireball frequency, but that it seems like it based on the number of reports you
had come across. Well, that is purely your personal perception of the topic, which relies on reports reaching you, rather than actual experience of
these events yourself.
If you take into account that a website like this one, which has been steadily growing in terms of membership over the years, and how people on here
post reports of fireballs from their own region that before (ATS) would not have made mainstream news and therefore you would probably not have heard
about them before, it's easy to see how personal perception of the frequency these events can be skewed.
Those of us who have been on ATS for a while know the pattern - there are a few reports of fireballs posted here on ATS, and the same questions are
asked every time.
You've been here on ATS less than a year, so it would seem that many more fireballs were being reported, compared to before ATS. Don't you think
that could account for your personal perception of the subject?
In my case, I can only say that in my 5+ years here on ATS, only a small fraction of the fireball reports that I come across via my sources are
reported here on ATS, and this has changed very little over the years. There were lots of fireballs when I first became interested in the subject 15+
years ago, and there still are now. If we could get a "ticker" here on ATS that constantly updated with the latest fireball reported somewhere in
the world, I think most people would be a little shocked! And that is just the tip of the iceberg that we would be seeing.
An estimated 100 tonnes of material from space rains down on the Earth every 24 hrs, and it's been doing that for a long time, despite most being
blissfully unaware of it. Most of it is at the smaller end of the scale, thankfully, or it would be much more worrisome.
Also, I'm not sure if you noticed in one of the other recent threads on the subject I posted about the well known (in meteor/fireball observing
circles anyway) increase in the frequency of fireballs during
. The reasons for why this time of year has more fireballs are not very clear.
As for any connection with methane, I don't think there is one. More methane in the atmosphere makes it denser, which makes it harder for asteroids
to penetrate the atmosphere. Every atmospheric molecule an asteroid slams into during it's passage through the atmosphere slows it down a fraction,
and also increases the forces that cause objects to break up at higher altitudes rather than lower altitudes.