Hey! That’s my fireball!

StephensAstro —  August 12, 2020 — Leave a comment

Fireball image captured at 11:36 PM EDT, August 11, 2020 by Hiram’s NASA All-Sky Fireball Network camera. The time stamp in the camera image reads 03:36 UTC — Coordinated Universal Time — which converts to 11:36 PM EDT. Credit: NASA

 

by James Guilford

Hey! That’s my fireball!!

I had stepped outdoors to check the sky (hoping to see at least one Perseid Meteor) and witnessed a fireball  at 11:36 PM; it was captured by the NASA All-Sky Fireball Network camera system hosted by Hiram College. That was the first time I had spotted a meteor that was also captured by the automated camera. The “shooting star” is not very impressive in the picture but it was a beauty by eye, glowing brightly and leaving a long “smoke trail” as it traveled from south to north.

Below is a summary of the data the NASA system was able to derive from Hiram, Oberlin College, and Allegheny Observatory imagery. Rather than a Perseids meteor, it was classified as an Alpha Capricornids meteor — that shower peaked in late July.

Data Summary for the fireball recorded at 11:36 PM EDT, August 11, 2020. Credit: NASA

 

If you are interested in NASA’s All-Sky Fireball Network, here’s a link to their website. Meteor data are updated daily with image captures and event summaries. Hiram’s is one of 17 all-sky cameras located in the continental U.S. https://fireballs.ndc.nasa.gov.

On August 13, 2013, Hiram College became the host for one of NASA’s All-Sky Camera Fireball Network stations, Oberlin College and Allegheny Observatory joining with us. The automated camera system watches the sky every night for exceptionally-bright meteors called fireballs.

James Guilford operates Stephens Memorial Observatory for the Physics Department of Hiram College.

 

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Since spring, 2006 Director of Stephens Memorial Observatory

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