Fireball Southern England, 2009 December 03-04 19:50 UT

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david entwistle
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Joined: Sun Aug 13, 2006 12:29 pm
Location: Goosnargh, north of Preston, UK

Fireball Southern England, 2009 December 03-04 19:50 UT

Post by david entwistle »

The SPA Meteor Section have received a number of reports of a bright fireball seen from across southern England during the evening of the 3rd December 2009. The time given in the reports varies slightly, but is approximately 19:50 UT.

You can find a couple of additional reports from the Stargazer's Lounge here.

Anyone who did spot this fireball, or any others - meteors of magnitude -3 or brighter - from the British Isles or nearby is welcome to send a full report to the Meteor Section as soon as possible. The minimum details we need from you are:

1) Exactly where you were (name of the nearest town or large village and county if in Britain, or your geographic latitude and longitude if elsewhere in the world);

2) The date and timing of the event; and

3) Where the fireball started and ended in the sky, as accurately as possible, or where the first and last points you could see of the trail were if you didn't see the whole flight.

More advice and a fuller set of details to send (including an e-mail report form) are outlined on the "Making and Reporting Fireball Observations" page of the SPA website, at: .
David Entwistle
Alastair McBeath
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Post by Alastair McBeath »

The timing for this fireball has now been refined to within five minutes of 20:00 UT on December 3-4, according to seven sightings received so far from Somerset, Gloucestershire, Hampshire, Berkshire and West London. The event was probably around magnitude -9, perhaps brighter.

None of the information derived from these sightings is well-established as yet, but the observations have suggested the fireball's start was around 90-100 km altitude, somewhere above a rough area bounded to the east and west by the western Isle of Wight and the Bournemouth area of Dorset respectively, or a point some kilometres north or south of this approximate line. The end has not been determined as yet, and the object's flight direction remains uncertain, but most likely was somewhere between south-north to southeast-northwest.

Estimates for the visible duration averaged ~4 seconds, but this could have been longer, maybe up to six or seven seconds, as not all witnesses saw the entire track. Three observers spotted some fragmentation during the object's flight, with colours varying from green or green-white (three reports), to blue-white or yellow (one report each). One observer suggested orange was present in its tail, and a short-lived train may have persisted afterwards (two sightings).

It is possible there were two other UK-visible fireballs that evening, one around 19:20 UT, the other perhaps near 20:30, but there are scarcely any details on these as yet, if so.

All further UK-observed fireball sightings, whether of any of these events or others, would be most welcome, as David already noted!

Alastair McBeath,
Meteor Director, Society for Popular Astronomy.
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Post by ukmtk »

I think I saw a fireball this morning at approximately 04:10-15. Unfortunately I just caught the tail end of it out of the corner of my eye. There was a definite smokey like trail that quickly dispersed (similar to a jet trail). I'm based in Hulland Ward (Derbyshire). I would say the trail I observed appeared to be going through Cancer/Hydra.
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