Musings on optics, physics, astronomy, technology and life

We on the East Coast of the USA had some more “freaky space rock” excitement a week ago yesterday (March 22). Shortly after 8 p.m., Facebook and Twitter lit up about a flash in the sky that looked like a fireball or bolide. I didn’t see it personally because I was indoors at the time. (Drat!)

The next morning, I learned from Jonathan McDowell‘s Facebook page that the American Meteor Society had aggregated reports of the fireball and made them into a “heat map.” The latter shows that the reports ranged all along the Northeast Corridor from DC to Boston (boy, that is a familiar trek for me). Via Facebook I asked Jonathan whether he thought that any leftovers from that blast landed in the Atlantic, and he replied that that was his guess. I’m glad that nobody got hit by that thing — who knows, it might have been pretty big.

Incidentally, should you see a bright moving flash in the sky, the Meteor Society has a handy Web form for reporting your observation. And the organization reported one amateur astronomer’s spectacular photos of the event.

Finally, if you’re wondering about the aftermath of the Chelyabinsk explosion last month, the New York Times did a follow-up article that describes the intruder as a stony meteorite — an ordinary chondrite. There’s more evidence that the people of the Russian city “dodged a bullet,” so to speak. Whew.

(Edited later on March 31 to fix a typo.)

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