Second fireball spotted in Maritime skies
Published Wednesday, March 19, 2014 8:09PM ADT
Last Updated Wednesday, March 19, 2014 8:10PM ADT
Maritimers are reporting another early-morning fireball, almost exactly 24 hours after a meteor blazed through the sky early Tuesday.
A Halifax webcam captured a bright light shooting across the sky at 5:17 a.m. Wednesday.
On a meteor blog, Jamie in Memramcook, N.B. reported seeing a “fireball falling from the sky…broke into pieces” while Paul in Dartmouth described a “yellowish, white fireball.”
Sightings of a fireball were also reported from Bathurst, N.B. to Nova Scotia’s South Shore early Tuesday morning. People in eastern Quebec also reported a bright light around the same time.
“Your intensity would increase over that period of time.”
“The fact that they both happened roughly at the same period of time is coincidental but it’s also what would be expected with a meteor shower,” says Paul Heath, president of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Halifax Centre.
Rob Thacker, an astronomy professor at Saint Mary’s University, says the main difference between Tuesday’s event and Wednesday’s event is the size of the meteor.
“Today’s not nearly as powerful, maybe 1/5 or 1/6 the diameter of yesterday’s object,” says Thacker. “Probably not big enough to cast shadows, probably as big as my hand coming down.”
Wednesday’s meteor was between 10 and 20 centimetres in diameter. Tuesday’s meteor was roughly a meter in diameter and cast shadows as it passed by. He also says it was rarer than the one spotted Wednesday morning.
“Yesterday’s object, maybe once or twice a year, maybe a little more common than that,” says Thacker. “Today’s? Probably something that happens two or three times a day around the world.”
Heath says it’s possible that Earth could be passing through a debris field left behind by a comet or asteroid, although there’s not enough data to confirm that at this time.
Both Heath and Thacker say they hope to see a network of cameras on top of universities or government buildings someday, tracking the skies.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Jayson Baxter
A Halifax webcam captured a bright light shooting across the sky at 5:17 a.m. Wednesday. (Nova Scotia Webcams)