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A surreal start to the week!


FenlandPaul
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Early last Tuesday morning the DSLR I’d set running all night in the garden and just before 5am captured a long streak, from one side of the 70 degree field to the other.  I initially dismissed it as a fast moving satellite (the exposure time was 30 seconds so it was going at quite a clip).

Anyway, it turns out it was a earth-grazing meteorite, and that apparently only a small handful of these have been accurately documented before.

Last night, out of the blue, I was contacted by a researcher from the BBC Radio 4 Today programme and, along with an actual expert in the field (thank goodness!), was interviewed for a slot going out this morning. Dr Denis Vida is founder of the Global Meteor Network of video meteor cameras and he’s been one of the people analysing the images captured across Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands and the UK.

So I just heard Justin Webb trailing the piece with “And as is 2020 weren’t already perilous enough, we’ll hear about a meteor that grazed the Earth.”

I think it’s amazing that chancing amateurs like me are able to contribute to real science, even if accidentally!

For interest, here’s the image I (fortuitously!) took, along with a trajectory that was calculated by Dr Marco Langbroek (the red bit is apparently the amount that my observation added to the recorded trail).

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Very nice. What a turn out for what looks like just another satellite photo-bombing!

So this is the actual body illuminated by sunlight and not illuminated by burning in the upper atmosphere? Don't that make it an asteroid? 

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11 minutes ago, Paul M said:

So this is the actual body illuminated by sunlight and not illuminated by burning in the upper atmosphere? Don't that make it an asteroid? 

So the best analogy is that of skimming a stone on a lake.  It started to burn up, but then rebounded back into space.  So it's not solar illumination (at only 1cm diameter, would be too small for that to be picked up with my 16mm lens).

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7 minutes ago, FenlandPaul said:

It started to burn up, but then rebounded back into space.

Ok, It's just that it's such a consistent/smooth brightness. The trail looks more like illumination than incandescence.

It will have been going at quite a rate across the sky then!

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Thank you all for your kind comments. In case anyone’s interested, here’s the clip from the local BBC news programme, Look East.  

The sharp-eyed among you will notice that most of the equipment on display had nothing at all to do with the image I captured!  I was asked to get as much cool-looking kit out as possible for the magic of TV!!  Unfortunately, as my wife pointed out, it meant that when I said that all I used was the kind of everyday equipment that a lot of people have lying around their house, I was standing in front of my OOUK VX12L!!  Oh well.

And finally, because I don’t think it comes across very well in this, the people in the UK who are really driving all of this work and research are the members of the NEMETODE network (nemetode.org) and SCAMP (https://ukmeteornetwork.co.uk/SCAMP/) - really they should have been the ones on this!

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