I Saw a Low Meteor about Ten Minutes ago

LED_Thrift

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At about 1:33 a.m. I saw an orange streak across the sky heading due west from Wayne NJ. It was very fast, although a bit slower than a common shooting star. It track was much thicker in the sky than a common shooting star, and it seemed to have a noticeable downward trajectory. I wonder if it hit somewhere, or if it just burned up.

Years ago I saw Northern Lights and found a site that people post on about their sightings. Does anyone know of a site that does this for meteor sightings?
 

StarHalo

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I don't know of any place for meteor sighting posts, but if you have a guess to where it might have landed, and that area is clear and flat, you might see if you can find where it hit; even a modest paperweight-sized meteorite can be worth over a thousand dollars..
 

LED_Thrift

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I found a site, American Meteor Society, that had a good form with all the right questions for reporting an observation.

I saw one much lower in broad daylight as a ten year old. It was much lower, I could actually see the rock itself. That one landed about 50 miles north of where I was, so I'll bet this one lands at least one hundred miles away, if it doesn't burn up. I was out testing my newly aquired EagleTac T100 C2 that I got from BST. It is a great light, although the two levels aren't as far apart as I'd like. This meteor really took me by suprise! It was weird seeing something that looked fairly low, but was completely silent.
 

StarHalo

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Good on you for observant stargazing, though a we-don't-do-low EagleTac wouldn't be my first choice for preserving night vision. I saw nine satellites and two shooting stars in my hour-long backyard shortwave radio expedition this evening, you'd be amazed how much you can see up there if you just take the time to look..
 

LED_Thrift

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...though a we-don't-do-low EagleTac wouldn't be my first choice for preserving night vision....
Whenever I step out at night I always look at the stars for a while before I turn any lights on. In this case I was going out at 1:30 am to put the lawnmower away, so I looked for about 45 seconds before proceeding. The bright EagleTac was overkill for the job, but since I got it recently, I wanted to have fun with it. Coming back from the shed I couldn't miss seeing the bright object with the orange trail in the sky. Wow!

Reading the American Meteor Society FAQ's I've deduced that this was miles up. They stop producing light due to friction a few miles up. It was not bright enough to land probably.
 

Flying Turtle

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I'm always looking up in hopes of seeing one. Only been lucky a few times. The other night I thought I had, only to quickly realize it was nothing more than a firefly above the treetops. :(

Geoff
 

DM51

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The astronomia.org website gives you a good indication of when you are most likely to be able to see meteor showers and other celestial events. For best results you need to allow it to use your location.
 

EZO

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I'm always looking up in hopes of seeing one. Only been lucky a few times. The other night I thought I had, only to quickly realize it was nothing more than a firefly above the treetops. :(

There are two meteor showers each year that reliably offer spectacular opportunities for viewing meteors.........MANY of them! (cloud cover permitting, of course)

They are the Perseid meteor shower during July/August which results from debris of the passing comet Swift-Tuttle and the November Leonid meteor shower which results from the debris of comet Tempel-Tuttle.

Some years are better than others for a number of astronomical reasons. In 2001, the Leonid shower was predicted to be one of the best in decades producing storms of as many 3000 per hour! (According to NASA) Since I live on a large property out in the countryside with no street lights and a spectacular view of the sky I invited some friends over for the "peak" which was predicted to arrive at approximately 4 AM. We set up lawn chairs and folding recliners out in the field and bundled up in warm clothes and blankets with thermoses of coffee. At first we sat around grumbling about whether it was worth getting ourselves up and out in the cold at this ungodly hour after seeing only a few "shooting stars" after what seemed an interminable wait. Suddenly, the sky just lit up with multiple streaks and they kept coming at the rate of up to several a minute and sometimes several at once for much of the hour or more we stayed out there. It was astonishing! Some glowed green and literally exploded with loud cracking sounds! Some came so low it startled. One left what appeared to be a puff of smoke! One of the more amazing sights I ever seen. Most Leonid showers yield maybe one a minute.

We finally retreated to my house for a hearty breakfast. A great night of skywatching!

The next opportunity to see a meteor shower is coming up soon with the Perseids, between July 17 - August 24, 2011 with the peak August 11th-13th.


http://stardate.org/nightsky/meteors

http://www.chiff.com/science/perseids.htm


 
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Launch Mini

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We have a cabin on a fairly remote lake. I try to be up there during the Perseid Showers every year. Very often they are spectacular, sometimes liquor & friends interfer with the show.
 

StarHalo

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There isn't any connection between meteor showers and meteorites; meteors are sand-grain to golf ball-sized particulates that burn up in the atmosphere (comet tail particulates in the instance of meteor showers - that's why we know when there's going to be a shower, it's when Earth's orbit crosses through where a comet has passed.) A meteorite is when an object actually strikes the ground. Meteorites enter the atmosphere at least the size of a bowling ball, and are usually the metal remnants of the cores of long gone proto-planets. Larger rocky and mixed material meteorites can sometimes survive the fall, and every once in a while, a meteorite will turn out to be a piece of the Moon or Mars, a fragment from an asteroid strike in those locations. It's these larger lumps that reach the ground that create fireballs and fall slowly through the low atmosphere.

asteroid.gif
 
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EZO

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Apparently, a meteor is the visible event seen in the sky, not the object, so any object seen streaking through the sky is a meteor. Both sand grain sized objects and larger objects are called meteoroids, so in theory a meteor shower could contain objects of any size. The object I observed during the 2001 Leonid shower that left a puff of "smoke" appeared as if it "may" have made it to the ground. If it did it would be a rather rare occurrence though. If one of them actually hits the ground it becomes a meteorite as StarHalo points out. The video in my previous post provides a formal definition and an excellent discussion with photographs about the differences between meteors, meteoroids and meteorites.
 
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StarHalo

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so in theory a meteor shower could contain objects of any size.

Correct, but nothing from what generated the shower would fall to Earth; comets are made from very low-density material that can't survive the fall through the atmosphere. A giant chunk would generate an explosion and/or fireball(s), but none of it would reach the ground.

Objects actually making it to the ground are only a tiny percentage versus what visibly falls/flys through the sky, roughly five percent (so on average, for every twenty meteors seen in the sky worldwide, there was one meteorite somewhere). Many meteorites aren't visible at all when falling. The general rule of thumb is if you can see it in the sky, it almost certainly won't be found on the ground, and if you find it on the ground, it almost certainly wasn't seen in the sky.
 

Burgess

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Great thread here !


Thank you, everyone, for the Links.


lovecpf
_
 

StarHalo

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For those of you just wanting to see things flying in space, you don't need a meteor shower; thanks to how common satellites and space junk are in the upper atmosphere now, it's not uncommon on any given night to see quite a few traversing overhead. Last night I saw only one meteor the entire time I was outside, but saw eight satellites in a ten minute period, including a pair that crossed paths, and one that was much brighter than anything else in the sky for at least a full minute, even in dismal city conditions, this one would have been very visible..
 

LED_Thrift

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I enjoy watching man made satellites too. At the end of May I finally got to do something I had wanted to do for years - see the Shuttle and Space Station separated by a few seconds in the same orbit. I started a thread about that too.

Here is the link I use to see the schedule of the shuttle or space station. http://spaceflight1.nasa.gov/realdata/sightings/cities/view.cgi Click the "Realtime Data" tab and choose "Sighting Opportunities" to enter the zip code you are viewing from.
 

howco1

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My sighting seems to be very unique: It was in 1966 in the afternoon at a field in Dorchester Massachusetts. I looked towards the west and saw an object coming at us and it was moving very slowly. As it approached it was a huge cratered melting rock and completely round. It looked like it had a trajectory of its own and I can hear it sizzle as sparks of red and green were flying out from it. I always describe this object as a "flying meatball" because of its roundness and its brownish color. It was no higher in my estimation than a four or five story building and as it passed by us I had to pinch myself to know it really happened. I was on a basketball court with a friend at the time and it was and still is one of the most amazing sites I had ever witnessed.
 

AZPops

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Working outside at night allows me (if the timings right) to see some cools things. While looking up, I saw a yellow, almost blue at the leading edge of the tail / flame. It was moving slow enough that it looked as if it was a plane on fire. Then watched it split into two before it went dark.

So far I've had three, or so opportunities to see close ones. Very cool stuff!


:tinfoil:
 

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