What's New in Space -- Exploding Stuff, Runaway Tool Bags, Pretty Planets

By: Susie77 , 12:26 AM GMT on December 07, 2008

Space Weather News for Dec. 6, 2008


COLORADO FIREBALL: Last night, a fireball one hundred times brighter than the full Moon lit up the sky near Colorado Springs, Colorado. Astronomer Chris Peterson photographed the event using an all-sky video camera dedicated to meteor studies. "In seven years of operation, this is the brightest fireball I've ever recorded. I estimate the terminal explosion at magnitude -18." Meteors this bright are called superbolides; they are caused by small (meter-class) asteroids and are likely to pepper the ground with meteorites when they explode. Visit http://spaceweather.com to watch the fireball video and contribute sighting reports that could help pinpoint any meteoritic debris.

TUMBLING TOOLBAG: The space station's famous sidekick, the ISS Toolbag, is circling Earth and reportedly producing flashes of light bright enough to record using off-the-shelf digital cameras. The flashes, shown in a photo on today's edition of Spaceweather.com, could be a sign that the bag is tumbling. Both the Toolbag and the ISS will be making a series of evening passes over North America and Europe in the evenings ahead, so now is a good time to look. Check the Simple Satellite Tracker for viewing times: http://spaceweather.com/flybys

BONUS: The Dec. 1st Great Conjunction Photo Gallery continues to grow with daily additions from around the world. Start browsing here:

Visit http://spaceweather.com for photos, webcasts and more information.

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2. Susie77
7:30 PM GMT on December 10, 2008
Thanks, shores.... we saw a fireball like that once while waiting for the 4th of July fireworks to start -- it was so much better than the *boom* ones! Thanks for the link.
Member Since: April 14, 2002 Posts: 665 Comments: 603
1. shoreacres
4:21 AM GMT on December 08, 2008
Hi, Susie,

So interesting about that fireball. Some years ago, I was with friends aboard their boat in the Bahamas. A huge blue-green "something" crossed the sky from east to west, with the most phenomenal tail. We heard later that it was a meteor, and that fragments were found in Arizona. We never confirmed it, but it certainly was the most spectacular sky event I've ever see.

If you haven't seen it, you might enjoy looking at this link to a Hubble Space Telescope Advent Calendar. LowerCal left the link on my blog and I was completely undone by it. The images are just spectacular.
Member Since: October 4, 2004 Posts: 205 Comments: 15292

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Sometimes I complain about the earthly weather, but mostly I like to post about astronomy and space events. Hope you enjoy the articles.

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