Posts Tagged ‘meteor’

Meteor Fireball

During the early hours of the morning, a massive fireball of a meteor tore across the skies of the country and many people in Plymouth (where I live) have commented that they saw it. Unfortunately, I was tucked up in bed at the time so missed it! In fact, why would most people be up at approx 3:20am anyway!?! 😉

The meteor was so bright and fiery due to the high levels of magnesium that are suspected in it, and this reacted with the atmosphere to give this amazing scene!

Here is the youtube video of the meteor.

Comet Spotting – Attempt #2 – SUCCESS!

After not being sure if we would make it out this evening due to Kelly being ill all last night and this morning and the strange weather that we have had today (rain, sleet, hail and snow!), we did manage to go out, and I am very glad that we did as we spotted the Comet!! 😉

Instead of going to Jenny Cliff, we made the shorter journey up to Shaugh Prior on Dartmoor, as we knew of a good vantage point there, and arrived shortly after sunset (about 18:30 with sunset being 18:18).  The Moon was a lot higher in the Sky tonight than last night, and a lot easier to spot as it was a much brighter crescent.  So we had a good look around it but couldn’t see anything to start with and it took about 25-30 minutes to spot anything remotely that looked like a Comet.

When I did finally spot something, the object that I saw was very slowly moving across the Sky horizontally and in the general area of where we thought the Comet ought to be.  It also had a very long but dark smoky tail but the head of it didn’t have any lights or a brightness to it.  We honestly didn’t (and still don’t) know what this object was – it definitely wasn’t an Airplane – it looked more like a meteor to me but who knows!!

At about 19:10 I decided to have one final look (it was absolutely freezing cold) and just had a general scan of the Sky underneath and around the Moon, and finally spotted it!  It was very faint and to the lower right of the Moon (not to the lower left as on previous nights) but it was unmistakeable.  You could see the head of the Comet being lit up by the Sun and the long tail reaching out behind it almost vertically.  We couldn’t see the twin tail unfortunately, but we were very glad that we finally saw it after nearly giving up!  It was a very exciting 10-15 minutes looking at it (whilst a Tawny Owl was calling in the nearby trees which did make it a bit creepy though!).

Here is an image from NASA that looks almost exactly the way we saw it, although it wasn’t quite as bright as this tonight.

Comet Pan-Starrs

Comet Pan-Starrs

Tomorrow is the last day of decent weather for the next few days, so we will be going out again to Shaugh Prior to have another look.  Am hoping we will get an even better view of it! 😉

Meterorite Exploding In Russia

This was caught this morning on film over Chelyabinsk in Russia.

For more info, have a read of this news article from the New York Times.

Perseid Meteor Gazing

The weather forecast was not good for the actual height of the Perseid meteor shower (it turned out to be shocking) so I went out and had a look the day before, which was last Saturday. It turned out to be a strange half hour or so!

When I first went to look outside there was a massive flash of lightning which made me jump as I wasn’t expecting it, so I assumed that the sky would be completely cloudy, but I was surprised to see that the sky was in fact mostly clear. So I went on out and had a good stare at the sky above.  During the star gaze, lightning was still flashing in the distance somewhere over Dartmoor, which made it interesting. In fact, the lightning turned a bit strange at one point as it seemed to be pulsing in one cloud only! It was like the scene in Independence Day when the alien ships first started to appear out of the skies around the world.  The flashes were quick as well – no more than 10 to 15 seconds apart, so there must have been one heck of a storm over Dartmoor somewhere!

Luckily this weird lightning storm didn’t take anything away from the meteors as I saw some amazing ones shoot across the sky.  On some, the ‘tail’ that they left was very distinct and easy to see well after the meteor itself had vanished! I think in the time I was out there (not much more than half an hour or so), I saw 6 or 7 meteors with probably 3 or 4 of those being really big and bright. Add to this, I saw the ISS again (purely by accident this time) and 6 other satellites, which meant it was a great time sky gazing! In fact, a couple of the meteors were up there with the best I have ever seen, although the one I saw in Weymouth last September was still the best ever as it was very bright and large as it streaked across the constellation of Cassiopeia.

Did anyone else manage to see any Meteors or the strange lighting storm? Send me a comment or tweet me (@strethewey) if you did!

The International Space Station and Perseid Meteors

During the month of August the ISS (International Space Station) could be seen in the sky during most evenings. The first time that I saw it was on Sunday 21st August when my family and I were on holiday in Weymouth. I wasn’t sure what to expect really as I didn’t know how bright it was going to be and how easily it could be made out from the rest of the stars in the sky. I had a NASA app on my phone which gave the general direction of where the ISS would be coming from and the length of time it would be viewable in the sky, but I was still worried that I wouldn’t see it.

Whilst on the look out, I was scanning the sky generally for constellations and satellites and to my amazement saw the best two shooting stars I had ever seen in my life.  These were obviously not actual shooting stars but were two meteors from the Perseid Meteor Shower. This was especially great as the height of the meteor shower was a couple of weeks before, so these would have come from the tail end of the passing shower and were totally unexpected. They were so bright and the trails in the sky were long and wide. It was brilliant to see and completely lucky that I was looking at that area of the sky at the right time. I knew these were part of the Perseids as their general direction originated from towards the constellation Perseus, and from my position, they shot past in front of Cassiopeia as well.

The image below is the best image I can find that shows almost exactly what I saw in the sky.

A Perseid Meteor

A Perseid Meteor -

Not long after, I suddenly spotted a very bright light in the sky coming from the direction where the ISS was meant to originate from. The object was moving as well which meant that what I was seeing was the ISS, and it was bang on time (the app gives the time of when the ISS becomes visible in the sky). Where I was watching was in the direct path of the ISS, so it flew directly over the top of me which was great to see!  Looking at it you could just make out the solar panels and the general shape which made it an amazing sight. It lasted for about 4 minutes before it passed by and faded to black as it moved away from the sun (which was reflecting off the panels which is why it was visible in the sky).  After seeing this, I was out most evenings when the sky was clear to view the International Space Station pass overhead, and I would recommend the viewing to anyone as it is a great thing to experience and puts a lot of things into perspective.  Unfortunately, now we are in mid-September, the ISS has moved out of viewable range in the evenings although it can be seen for a fleeting moment during the early hours of the morning on occasions.

The International Space Station (ISS)

The International Space Station (ISS) -

The sighting of the International Space Station also cleared up a little mystery from earlier in the year when I was out at Mount Batten in Plymouth and saw a very bright object move across the sky at a fairly brisk pace.  At the time I wasn’t sure what it was and thought it may have actually been a UFO, but after seeing the ISS during the Summer, I can now say that what I saw in March was the ISS travelling across the sky above us. Am glad this has been cleared up although it would have been nice if it was a UFO!  😉