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Full report on fireball spotted over England on 15 February 2014 at 18:30:20

Full report on fireball spotted over England on 15 February 2014 at 18:30:20

Three UKMON cameras captured fireball event on 15 February 2014 at 18:30:20; this fireball was also reported by members of public and by all accounts it was a spectacular sight.  Unfortunately for us, our cameras only managed to record a partial track.

Let’s look at  what our cameras recorded.

We were first alerted to this interesting fireball event by the  S.P.A.M. Group based at the Norman Lockyer Observatory station:

M20140215_183020_Lockyer2_L2P

The Clanfield station camera also detected this fireball, appearing on the extreme right-hand side of the field of view, but this wass enough to give us an overview of the length of the event:

M20140215_183020_Clanfield_SOP

Similarly the Wilcot station captured the beginning of the event:

M20140215_183020_Wilcot_SWP

Our thanks too to Damian Peach who sent us his visual observing report:

Untitled-1

We also flagged this fireball on Bayfordbury AllSky Camera.  A full trail was proving to be elusive as even in this all-sky image it is visible only at the bottom centre of the image:

AllSkyImage002244446

Analysis:

This fireball was classified as ‘sporadic'; in other words it does not belong to any known meteor shower.  It was also a slow entry (slow for a meteor): traveling at a speed of 16.3 km/s it started to burn up in the atmosphere at an altitude of 86.3km.   The full event lasted 4.4 seconds and UKMON cameras recorded 3.16 seconds. During this period meteor covered distance of 47.7km.   Its deceleration was calculated as 1.2 km/s2.   Its heliocentric speed 39.7km/s.

Our cameras recorded only about 60% of the full trail of the meteor, and down to an altitude of 42.8 km.   If we assume constant deceleration then the estimated end of the ablation is at an altitude of around 25 km.  This altitude is low enough for some debris to fall.

There were two recorded explosions.  Unfortunately the last one was not shown on our video but explosions at the end of the trail usually indicate a very dense asteroid composition.

B20140215_183020GMAP_all B20140215_183020OMAP_dcl

We are working with our partnering networks in France in the hope that more recordings will be found which will help us to calculate a more complete trail of this fireball.

Using UKMON developed software, here you can see the projected trajectory presented using Google Maps:

M20140215_183020 view 1 M20140215_183020 view 2

Videos and public reports:

Richard Fleet’s video:

Fireball 15th February 2014 from Richard Fleet on Vimeo.

Video from Norman Lockyer Observatory, Sidmouth:

Wheels on the Bike recorded this fireball while riding a bike:

Credits

Our thanks to European colleagues from EDMON network for their help with the analysis of this fireball event.

Update:

The amazing image sent to us by Justin Whitaker has provided us with important additional information. It has extended our view of the fireball’s trail and has added approximately 0.8 seconds of event time which had not been captured by UKMON cameras. Justin also recorded a second, larger explosion and using his image we now estimate that the fireball’s brightness grew from -3.7 to as bright as approximately -9.1. It’s terminal altitude is now estimated be about 30km.

DSC_0528

This analysis shows that photographic and visual reports still have a very important role in the recording and analysis of meteors and fireballs.

Light curve analysis:

lc

Combined ground map trail including Justin’s image showing full path of the fireball trail:

B20140215_203023GMAP_Bristol

And final orbit calculation:

B20140215_183020OMAP_dcl_Bristol

Written by Richard Kacerek

15 Comments

  1. Dave Jones · February 16, 2014

    Great report Richard, nice to combine data from several areas!

  2. Christopher Curtis | More on the Meteor · February 16, 2014

    […] internet has quite a lot of discussion about the meteor I saw. There is a good analysis at the UK Meteor monitoring network. It seems to have fallen above the English Channel and so was probably about 50 miles away from me. […]

  3. Justin S Whitaker · February 17, 2014

    I got a photo it from Bristol, showing it change from green to yellow in colour and what looks like one explosion at that point.

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/americanbuddhist/2014/02/photographing-a-meteor-over-sw-england.html

  4. Helen Bashford · February 17, 2014

    I saw the full tail and what looked like a final explosion – was quite dramatic for me as I am not normally a sky watcher!! Largest thing I have ever seen!!! and quite frightening! I was in Bournemouth – saw it at 6.30pm

  5. Martin Murphy · February 17, 2014

    Sightings of the fireball reported to Armagh Observatory can be read here, http://arpc65.arm.ac.uk/cgi-bin/fireballs/search.pl?txtDate=2014-02-15

  6. Planet X News Daily Headlines for 2/17/2014 | Planet X News · February 17, 2014

    […] Full report on fireball spotted over England on 15 February 2014 at 18:30:20 […]

  7. DavidD · February 17, 2014

    I saw this from North-East of Bristol. Very colourful.

  8. Jo · February 17, 2014

    I saw what liked a green/ white firework coming down rather than going up on Gower Road Swansea at 6.35pm. E mailed a geologist at Swansea Uni, Geriant Owen who saw this article!

  9. Martin Chick · February 17, 2014

    Great report and collection of Photographs. Shows the value of UKMON and all the hard work organisers and camera operators contribute.

  10. Topher J · February 17, 2014

    Driving down M6 saturday night between Stoke and M40 about 18.30 ish when green light appeared in the sky gradually dropping just as I told my daughter to look at the firework it suddenly developed a burning tail and then vanished ! Not got a clue what it was but very spectacular

  11. Tina-Maria · February 18, 2014

    stood outside at 6.30 on dartmoor and saw the fireball come down, spectacular

  12. Gareth Evans · February 18, 2014

    I saw a very similar object but the time was 2030. Positive about the time as it was just before I finished work at 2100. Haven’t found anything anywhere regarding this one at this time though.

  13. Alex · February 19, 2014

    Observed at 18:30 from a bus stop on the Stoke Rd, Bletchley Milton Keynes. Quite a sight to see. As was the Full Moon breaking the horizon minutes before.

  14. daniel · February 20, 2014

    Ahhh im glad I found this. I put up a post on facebook at 18:36 that eve asking if anyone saw it. My family said I was goin mad. Lol I was driving south down the a23 towards brighton and it lit the whole sky up.. and as I burnt out it kind of sparkled like one of them cheap fireworks.. took my breath away, was brilliant

  15. grecian · February 22, 2014

    Was working near Gidleigh on Dartmoor and looking at the Moon was stunning that night, then saw the fireball fall ,change colour and enlarge,a memorable evening !

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