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Is what I saw - a meteor that was heading in my direction?

  1. Jul 4, 2013 #1
    Hey guys! On 3rd July, ~00:10 AM +10:00 GMT I have been watching night sky. Then suddenly, under Arcturus (no idea how much below, but about 7 full moons in a row below it) I saw a dim star which was never there. In a matter of seconds (5-10 seconds) it increased in brightness and became as bright as Arcturus. Then suddenly it exploded silently - bright-yellow ball in the center and an orange circle around it. This explosion was as big as a full moon. It lasted 1-2 seconds. Can anyone please explain me what happened? Could it be a meteor headed in my direction, but vaporized in the atmosphere?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 4, 2013 #2

    Simon Bridge

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    Welcome to PF;
    Did anyone else report such a spectacular explosion?
    Whereabouts are you?
  4. Jul 4, 2013 #3
    Was it a single point of light or did it have a tail, its very strange for it to enter our atmosphere at such an angle hence why i ask if it had a tail, however it very well may have been. You said it was silent, this is because of the obvious huge distances involved. The recent meteor in russia let of a boom, but this was massive enough to punch far deeper into our atmosphere than anything the size you could be talking about.
  5. Jul 4, 2013 #4
    Sorry for the late response, guys, and thanks for the welcome!

    Simon, I don't know if anyone else saw it, I didn't ask my friends yet, but will when they will be able to be reached. I live in Vladivostok, Far East of Russia, Prymorsky Krai (Near North Korea). I saw this small explosion about one third of the sky above the horizon (sorry for my measuring techniques, I can't use degrees).

    RickBman, it was a single point of light. In the attachments I draw what the flare looked like.

    Attached Files:

  6. Jul 4, 2013 #5

    jim mcnamara

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    Bolides are meteors that enter the atmosphere and make a bright flash( or explosion or fireball, whatever you want to call it) when they come to the endpoint of their entry into the atmosphere.

    The American Meteor Society attempts to track these events, mostly over North America. There must be something equivalent in your area. Surely it would have been noted by a local news agency. People tend to be alarmed with things like that and contact various agencies of government. and news agencies, too.
  7. Jul 4, 2013 #6

    Simon Bridge

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    Local astronomers, other star-gazers, astronomical publications...
    Ooh - tigers!
    One of the fun things about the internet age is that anyone can get a potted synopsis of a region very quickly.

    The full moon is about half a degree - but you need it quite close for comparisons since it is bigger in your minds eye than it is in the sky. A common estimate is 10deg is roughly the width of your fist held at arms length. Of course if people see you doing this they may think you are giving some sort of salute ...

    The full moon is roughly half the width of the index finger held at arms length ... also probably not something to do in polite company. Amateur astronomers tend to be a solitary bunch...

    At least you have the self discipline to realize there are many things it could be besides an extra-terrestrial mothership hitting lightspeed ... which is what I usually get :)

    It does sound like you saw a fireball in the sky ... it would be very difficult to tell exactly what caused it without more data.

    A regular meteor would ablate away or cast fragments rather than just explode ... but the bolide is a good candidate as Jim points out. That also means it needn't have been coming right at you.
  8. Jul 4, 2013 #7
    Wow! Jim and Simon, thanks for explaining everything to me :D And I will try to ask any local star-gazers if they saw this.
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