Streaking lights, explosions reported all along coast

*Interesting 24 hours…*

If the fireball and explosion witnessed by residents along the mid-Atlantic coast Sunday night was a meteor, it’s likely that fragments survived and hit the ocean, an astronomy expert says.

The explosions occurred one to two minutes after the fireball disappeared, which means that a meteor penetrated deep into the atmosphere, said Alan MacRobert, senior editor of Sky and Telescope magazine. That makes it more likely that meteorites survived to hit the ground, although it is not certain.

MacRobert encouraged eyewitnesses to report what they saw at www.amsmeteors.org/fireball/report.html, or at www.spaceweather.com. Scientists can predict where to look for meteorites on the ground “if enough people can accurately reconstruct the flight path that they saw in the sky, or if they can simply say ‘It went behind that tree,’ ” he said.

S. Kent Blackwell, an amateur astronomer, was sky-watching in Pungo when the explosion occurred around 10 p.m. Sunday.

“This brilliant green meteor was probably two or three times brighter than the full moon,” Blackwell said. “Then it turned orange with a white core and disappeared.”

One to two minutes later, a loud low-frequency noise shook houses in Norfolk and Virginia Beach.

“It was a very ominous, low-frequency rumble,” said Robert Hitt, director of the Chesapeake planetarium, who lives in the Acredale section of Virginia Beach. “The sound was quite different from what you hear from thunder.”

Sound is quite rare with fireballs, according to a fact sheet from the American Meteor Society, but there can be two kinds. One is a sonic boom one to two minutes after the visible light, created by fireballs usually brighter than magnitude -8. In comparison, the meteor society says the North Star is magnitude 2.1 and a bright Venus is -4.4. The full moon is -12.6 and the sun is -26.7.

The other kind of sound that can accompany fireballs is called electrophonic. It occurs at the same time as the flash is seen and may sound like a hiss, a sizzle or popping noise.

“Often, the witness of such sounds is located near some metal object when the fireball occurs,” according to the meteor society fact sheet. “Additionally, those with a large amount of hair seem to have a better chance of hearing these sounds.”

These sounds may be radio waves, but they have not been scientifically identified, it says.

Many Hampton Roads residents heard a boom, even though they were inside and did not see the flash. One viewer, in an online comment to the newspaper, reported thinking a tree had hit the house. Another said window blinds rattled with the boom.

Most reports place the fireball and noise at around 9:50 p.m., but one local viewer reported seeing a brilliant flash of light at 2:30 a.m. while traveling between Elizabeth City and Virginia Beach.

No meteor showers are taking place at the moment. The next one is predicted for April 21-22.

The Virginia Beach 911 center had numerous calls waiting just before 10 p.m., a supervisor said.

The National Weather Service said reports were made from Dorchester County, Md., to the Virginia/North Carolina border.

Chris Wamsley, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service’s Wakefield office, said a team is looking into what happened.

Lindsey Hosek of the Great Neck area of Virginia Beach was jogging along the water with her dog when the sky lit up, she said.

“The bright light at first terrified me because I thought somebody was shining a light on me, and then I saw it, and I was in complete awe because it was so beautiful,” she said.

Then she saw something that looked like a comet moving low toward the ground; it was blue in front followed by orange and appeared to be the shape and size of a refrigerator.

“It was just so low. It was like where a bird should be,” she said. “It was definitely heading downward.”

In an e-mail to The Pilot, a reader reported seeing something similar at 2:30 a.m. “The sky turned brilliant blue,” wrote Bobby Smith. “I’ve never seen anything like it. Here’s the catch: I saw it at approximately 2:30 a.m. on Sunday morning on Route 17 coming to Virginia Beach from Elizabeth City.”

The American Meteor Society seeks as much information as possible about brightness, length across the sky, color, how long it lasted, direction of travel and position in the sky as compared to constellations or even trees and buildings. Although the sight was unusual, the American Meteor Society reports that thousands of fireballs occur in Earth’s atmosphere each day, many during daylight when they cannot be easily seen, others in remote locations.

Blackwell said the meteor was moving north-northeast between the constellations Ursa Minor and Ursa Major. “I’ve been observing more than 40 years but have never seen a meteor this bright,” he said. “It was absolutely spectacular!”

Mark Ost of Pungo, who was observing with Blackwell, posted this report on spaceweather.com:

“The fireball was approximately 36 to 40 degrees above the horizon … Assuming the speed of sound at 600 mph, I calculated the distance to be 20 to 30 miles away.”

Blackwell suspects that meteorites, if there were any, fell into the ocean, which would be disappointing.

“Heck, I wish it had landed in my driveway!” he said.

http://hamptonroads.com/2009/03/loud-explosions-lights-sky-reported-maryland-nc

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Loud Boom Rocks Southern Kentucky

*Watch this story…might disappear, or some weird explanation might be brought forth.*

27 NEWSFIRST started receiving phone calls tonight telling us a loud boom, or series of booms were heard this evening in Southern Kentucky.

So we called emergency officals, to find out what is going on.

Brian Reams of the Laurel county EMS tells us they’ve had calls from Jackson to London, about a loud boom.

He says there are no reports of any injuries or damage.

In the last little bit, Reams says he’s been told by the state police in London that according to the FAA, the boom is from falling debris, coming from two satellites that collided in space.

The debris re-entering the atmosphere caused the loud boom, and then burned up before hitting earth.

Reams says it could have covered a 500 mile area.

http://www.wkyt.com/home/headlines/39600267.html

UPDATE…

Okay. First they said there was a damn plane crash…

Now they are saying there is NOT a crash.

I have no idea.

Here is one buried in the news-Military probes mystery blast in Arctic

EDMONTON – The Canadian military is sending a long-range Aurora aircraft to investigate reports of a mysterious explosion along Canada’s Northwest Passage that may have killed several whales.

The drama apparently began in the early-morning hours of July 31, when an Inuit hunting party at an outpost camp at Borden Peninsula on northeastern Baffin Island was alerted to the sound of an explosion, followed by a cloud of black smoke.

An Inuit member of the Canadian Rangers, a military reservist unit stationed in the far North, reported the incident, and said a hunter at the camp saw several dead whales on shore when he went over to investigate.

In a preliminary investigation, DND’s Joint Task Force Northern headquarters determined there were no known vessels operating in the area, and it did not know of any activity that could have caused an explosion.

“At this point, we really have very little else to report,” says Summer Halliday, a spokeswoman for the Joint Task Force in Yellowknife.

“But we will be sending an Aurora aircraft to do a flyover. The plane is currently up north in the Mackenzie Valley on a routine exercise supporting the RCMP’s Operation Nunakput.”

Parks Canada will also be on the scene with a boat that’s being dispatched from Sirmilik National Park on Bylot Island.

Originally designed for anti-submarine warfare, the Aurora is able to detect and destroy the latest generation of stealth submarines.

But its long-range capabilities are what make it so useful to the military. It can fly for 17 hours and cover 9,266 kilometres without refuelling.

The Aurora is frequently used to search out illegal fishing, illegal immigration, drug trafficking and pollution along Canada’s three coastlines.

Unusual activity has been reported in the Borden Peninsula region before, according to a DND briefing report. Last summer, for example, several unusual and unidentified objects were seen in the water in the same area.

This past winter, a spectacular meteorite that swept across the sky lit up the radio waves with talk of UFOs.

Foreign submarines have also been sighted in Canadian Arctic waters over the past decade. No one will speculate on whether a submarine might be involved in this mystery blast.

“Until we hear from Parks Canada and the military, there’s nothing we can confirm or deny,” says Keith Pelley, a Fisheries and Oceans Canada official based in Nunavut.

“All we have is a report that an explosion occurred. It may be something or it could be nothing at all. Right now, we just don’t know.”

In the briefing report sent to other government departments, the Joint Task Force noted that it takes this, as well as other reports like it, seriously.

With climate change opening up the Northwest Passage to easier navigation, and with evidence of rich oil deposits below the Arctic Ocean, the international war of words over Canada’s coldest frontier has been heating up.

Five countries – Canada, Russia, Norway, Denmark and the United States – have been compiling data to claim possible extensions to their Arctic continental shelves under international law. Russia has been the most aggressive in pressing its claim to the Pole: About a year ago, it sent a submarine to plant a Russian flag on the North Pole sea floor, and Lt.-Gen. Vladimir Shamanov has been talking about extending Russia’s naval presence in the Arctic.

The Borden Peninsula is located on the northwest coast of Baffin Island, immediately west of Bylot Island. Inuit hunters from Pond Inlet often travel to this area to hunt whales, seals, polar bears and other animals.

Foreign cruise ships, adventurers, cargo vessels and resupply vessels also use the waterway from late July to late September.

http://www.canada.com/topics/news/national/story.html?id=46bcc3e3-d4d1-4cb4-a024-902ef385a602