Fireball night of 3/26/16

classic Classic list List threaded Threaded
2 messages Options
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Fireball night of 3/26/16

Joan
Last night about 8:45ish I saw a great shooting star. From my home in Lewiston it was in the Northeast.  A lovely fireball, one of the best I've ever seen. I was wondering if we were in a meteor shower. What was it? Thanks, Joan
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Fireball night of 3/26/16

Shasta Astronomy
Administrator
Hi Joan,

We're not in any particular meteor shower at the moment and the next one will be the Lyrids at the end of April.  That said though, on any given night, you can see one or two "shooting stars" especially from a dark area such as yours.  There is also a possibility that you saw a fireball or Bolide who's source might be from one of the two comets that made a close flyby of the Earth in the last week or so.  Another source might have been a small piece of small junk reentering the atmosphere.  I doubt it was that because they tend to make for big fireballs that end up on the nightly news ;-)

Just as a bit of trivia, when you see a shooting star (more formally called a meteor) in the sky what you're looking at is a small object about the size of a grain of sand.  It's moving so fast (roughly 20,000mph) that the gas molecules that make up our atmosphere can't move aside fast enough.  They get compressed and electrons are striped away from the atoms, causing those atoms to emit light.  In many ways, a meteor shines for the same reason as a neon light tube.  And, just to complicate the discussion, a small rock in space is called a meteoroid.  When it comes through the atmosphere (but before it hits the ground) it's a meteor.  When (or if) if hits the ground it's called a meteorite.

Hope that helps,
Greg

On Sun, Mar 27, 2016 at 9:55 AM, Joan [via Welcome] <[hidden email]> wrote:
Last night about 8:45ish I saw a great shooting star. From my home in Lewiston it was in the Northeast.  A lovely fireball, one of the best I've ever seen. I was wondering if we were in a meteor shower. What was it? Thanks, Joan


If you reply to this email, your message will be added to the discussion below:
http://welcome.32296.n7.nabble.com/Fireball-night-of-3-26-16-tp91.html
To start a new topic under Shasta Astronomy Club, email [hidden email]
To unsubscribe from Shasta Astronomy Club, click here.
NAML



--
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Shasta Astronomy Club

Shasta Astronomy Club on Facebook

Follow Shasta Astronomy on Twitter
@ShastaAstronomy