Popular Astronomy

Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Stumble It More...

Fireball Reports 2011 January to June

The following summary has been compiled from Alastair McBeath's posts on the SPA Forum:

* January 8-9, 07:46 UT, a magnitude -4/-5 or so possible late Quadrantid, seen in morning twilight from Dumfries & Galloway. 
* January 18-19, around 18:00 UT, a fireball-class event spotted from Hampshire. 
* January 24-25, between 19:47 and 19:50 UT, probably peaking at about magnitude -8, with two reports made from Lanarkshire and Edinburgh. It's not completely certain both sightings were of this meteor, however. 
* February 16-17, at 23:35 UT, a fragmenting, Moon-bright fireball of perhaps magnitudes -10/-12, seen from Leicestershire. 
* February 23-24, around 23:50 UT, a fireball-class event observed from Suffolk. 
* February 24-25, around 18:10 UT, bright enough to be readily visible in the evening twilight sky from Ayrshire. 
* March 3-4, at 22:27 UT, a magnitude -3/-4 event that produced much fragmentation along its trajectory, seen from Hampshire. 
* March 4-5, around 22:50 UT, a fireball reaching magnitude -5 or so, that also fragmented, as observed from NE Lincolnshire. 
* March 7-8, between 22:08 and 22:10 UT, a magnitude -8 or brighter fireball was reported from three sites in the Midlands, Worcestershire and Hampshire. The Worcestershire witness noted it too threw-off some small fragments, like sparks. The initial report by the lucky Midlands observer is elsewhere on the Observing Forum: 
while the first report from the Hampshire witness is on the UK Weather World's Space Weather Forum: 
Follow-up comments to the latter posting suggested there were numerous other sightings possibly of this meteor from Britain south of Manchester, though no useful details from any of these potential observers have been received by the SPA as yet if so. 
* April 3-4, at 23:26 UT, a bright meteor seen to the south from East Sussex, which produced some fragmentation. 
A possible second sighting, timed at about 23:30 UT, from "Collins88" in Hertfordshire is also reported on the same UK Weather World's Space Weather Forum topic.
These reports can be found on the UK Weather World's Space Weather Forum, at: 
This also has an interesting link to a NASA webpage (see the posting by Dave Hancox, timed at 01:29 on April 4th) which commented on the relatively higher frequency of fireball sightings near the spring equinox. In fact, much of the February to April period actually enjoys such a statistical reputation, though a fireball sighting remains a rare event for any given witness. 
* April 3-4, at 23:56 UT brought a very bright meteor for a lucky witness in London, which may have been the same as a second fireball that "Collins88" reported as happening roughly ten minutes after the first one. It's possible this may have been a separate meteor around 23:40 UT instead, however. 
* May 8-9, around 20:08 UT, a very bright meteor spotted nearly overhead, moving roughly southwards from Surrey. 
* May 20-21, at 23:47 UT, saw at least one notably bright meteor for a lucky witness in Middlesex (see the posting by "scrapemedic" from May 21 on the UK Weather World's Space Weather Forum at: 
Images were secured of an object at this time too by two of the Hertfordshire University's all-sky cameras, at
Bayfordbury (see: http://star.herts.ac.uk/allsky/imageget.php?jde=2455702.4911&c=1
and Hemel Hempstead: (see: http://star.herts.ac.uk/allsky/imageget.php?jde=2455702.4911&c=2
Unfortunately, the Hemel Hempstead photo suggested the object there was in the mid western/southwestern sky, while that from Bayfordbury suggested the imaged object there had been high up to the east/northeast. Given that the Bayfordbury camera is situated east of Hemel's this would have made it impossible for both to have been shots of the same meteor. 
* June 1-2, at 20:50 UT, a yellow, fireball-class meteor with a sparkling train, seen from Kent. 
* June 3-4, probably around 21:13 UT, a slow, magnitude -6 event which broke in two, spotted from County Durham. 
* Later on June 3-4, around 22:45 UT, a fragmenting, magnitude -10 or so event was report by two lucky witnesses on the Cumbria-Scottish border. Unfortunately, both were made from the same site, so no triangulation to the trail could be attempted. However, from the details provided, and assuming typical meteoric heights for the object, it may have flown on a roughly northwest to southeast trajectory high above NE England, perhaps ending over the adjoining North Sea. One of the reports can be found on the UK Weather World's Space Weather Forum at: 
* June 25-26 brought a fireball-class meteor sighting from Gwynedd, timed at 23:30 UT. 
* June 28-29, circa 23:25 UT, produced a bright event which left a notable persistent train for two people at the same place in Cornwall. 
* June 30-31, 23:41:35 UT, saw a very bright, fragmenting fireball observed visually from South and East Yorkshire, which was also imaged on video from Norfolk. Neither visual witness could give enough positional details to attempt to triangulate to the meteor's precise atmospheric flight-path with the video data. However, it seemed likely the meteor was heading somewhere between roughly southwest-northeast and south-north, probably over the southern North Sea or possibly over parts of SE England and/or East Anglia. The South Yorkshire sighting notes can be found on the UK Weather World's Space Weather Forum at: 

Added by:  Tracie Heywood