reply to post by wrkn4livn
With all due respect, this is the wrong thread for your post.
Apples and oranges...
The fireballs being discussed in this thread were caused by Earth crossing the stream of dust (and a few slightly larger meteoroids) ejected by
Halley's Comet. We pass through this dust stream twice a year, but this year we happened to pass through a part of the dust stream that was more
densely populated with meteoroids than most years, giving us an outburst.
Whilst outbursts from meteor showers don't occur every year (if they did, they would not be outbursts!) they do occur from time to time. Notable
outbursts and even storms have occurred in the recent past, the best known of which were the Leonids which were in storm mode a little over a decade
ago. I was fortunate enough to observe a "storm" of Leonid fireballs in
(by pure chance). It "rained" fireballs all night, and I saw hundreds over a period of a few hours, some of them bright enough to light the
ground/buildings around me like it was daylight.
There was a true storm (defined as being over 1000 meteors per hour) when the Leonids peaked the following year, and again in
when 4500 meteors per hour at peak were observed in some locations, and I was once again
fortunate to witness this with my own two eyes!
Before that In 1966
there was a great storm of meteors, and for about 10-15 minutes, meteors
were falling at a rate of 40-50 per second
. At the moment the Leonids only produce around 10-15 meteors per hour at peak, which is their normal
These were big storms of meteors and fireballs, that make this years eta Aquarid outburst look tame in comparison!
Asteroids on the other hand are another kettle of fish all together. They are large objects, usually made of much harder material than that which
constitutes cometary meteoroids, and they generally enter the atmosphere at significantly lower speed. Because of this they can penetrate deeply into
Earth's atmosphere, and larger asteroids pose a significant threat. They are also random and unpredictable, unlike annual meteor showers.
The meteoroids ejected by comets, whilst not very large, hit the atmosphere fast, and because they are fragile, they break up almost immediately in a
bright flash of light, making they appear impressive when a "large" one hits.
You have to take into account that camera tech has improved significantly, as well as prices coming down. Today's cameras are more sensitive, and make
meteors seem brighter and more impressive than older cameras. There are also many more cameras pointed at the sky today. We would not be discussing
this outburst were it not for these factors - and probably many of the other recent (asteroidal) fireballs that have been posted here on ATS. These
are certainly not the only factors involved, but they do play a significant part in how we perceive the subject.
It should also be noted, as at least one previous member posted, that even the annual Perseid meteor shower usually puts on as good a show as this
years eta Aquarid meteor shower did. I try to observe the Perseids every year, and have seen some spectacular Perseid fireballs in previous
edit on 8-5-2013 by FireballStorm because: typo