News on Sutter's Mill fall 2012 April 22.
News on Novato fall 2012 October 17.
To report video/photographs and possible meteorite finds, please email:
Report visual accounts of the fireball sighting here.
2013 February 16 San Francisco Bay Area fireball:
2013, February 22 - This fireball was widely reported in the evening of February 15, the day of the Chelyabinsk fireball. It was captured in a dash-cam video from a car driving southbound on highway 280. It appeared at the very edge of the CAMS camera field of view and was captured by the CAMS Sunnyvale station at 03:42 UT. It appeared just outside of the CAMS Lick Observatory and Fremont Peak Observatory station camera fields and, so far, no orbit could be derived.
2013 January 17 Sierra Nevada fireball:
Sunnyvale record of the January 17 fireball. The beginning of the meteor trajectory is visible right of the bright flash that originated well below the field of view.
2013, January 17 - Night turned briefly into day over a wide area in California and Nevada at 5:21:44 a.m. PST on Thursday morning, creating hopes of another extraterrestrial surprise delivery of meteorites, but this bright fireball did not drop meteorites on the ground. This was a head-on collision with a small perhaps 1-meter sized comet, rather than the glancing blow of a stronger asteroid. The comet matter was almost instantly turned into dust and gas.
Three of the CAMS camera stations captured the very early stage of the impact. The meteor was first spotted by the station at Lick Observatory at an altitude of 146.1 +/- 1.0 km (90.8 miles) and was tracked at the stations in Sunnyvale and Fremont Peak Observatory down to 133.8 +/- 0.2 km (83.1 miles), after which the fireball moved outside the field of view. Extraction of the short fast tracks proved difficult, but CAMS software architect Pete Gural succeeded in extracting each track. From triangulations of these video records, the object's trajectory in the atmosphere and orbit in space were calculated.
How high is 146 km? The short thick line shows the calculated trajectory, the thin line is extrapolated to the ground, ending close to Lake Tahoe. Image courtesy of Jim Albers.
The meteoroid originated from the Oort cloud and approached Earth on a shallow 19 +/- 7 degrees inclined orbit, moving in opposite direction around the Sun. On Thursday morning, while approaching it's nearest point to the Sun at 0.98 +/- 0.03 Astronomical Units, it found Earth in its way. It approached from the direction of the constellation Virgo, and collided head-on with the Earth at a location just north of Yosemite National Park, entering Earth's atmosphere at the fastest possible entry speed of 72 +/- 6 km/s (= 45 miles/s, or 160 thousand miles per hour). Moving towards Lake Tahoe, the small comet then penetrated to lower elevations where it fully disrupted in the atmosphere.
January 17 fireball in an allsky camera image by Jim Collins at Chico, CA.
The fireball was widely reported on the American Meteor Society website. It was captured on the allsky camera of Jim Collins in Chico, CA (photo above). It was also captured on the Skysentinel cameras at Stanford and Nevada city. These sites show videos.
[Video by James S.]