Thursday, February 23, 2012

February Fireballs

Hey Space Placers!

I have been a skywatcher for decades and one of the most thrilling and awe-inspiring things you can see is a bright fireball streaking across the sky. I have seen perhaps a dozen really good ones and have heard them explode (yes, HEARD them explode), seen all sorts of colors from green to red to white to purplish. They literally take your breath away when you see them in the distance or make you almost duck when they are overhead.

Fireballs are caused by space rocks that can range from the size of basketballs to buses and originate from the asteroid belt. They can sometimes be large enough in size and survive entering the atmosphere to produce meteorites - space rocks that fall to Earth and are found.

NASA has noticed the number of fireballs reported and recorded in the month of February, this year and others, seems to spike compared to other months. In fact, we had our own February fireball in our area just about two weeks ago which was seen in our neighboring states and others further north and south of us. There is no way to tell if this fireball was part of the spike or an "ordinary" event.

But NASA is hoping to find out by installing more all sky monitoring cameras that patrol the skies automatically to record fireball events. Once the entire network is established it will be possible to calculate the orbit of the incoming space rock and pinpoint from where they came from. The perhaps we will have an answer to the "Fireballs of February."

By the way, it has been about 15 years since my last dazzler fireball. I am way overdue and scan the skies a lot during my daily/nocturnal routine. I look forward to sharing an event with you.

Read More About It:

February Fireballs (splash, 558 px)

Sky Guy in VA

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