Monday, February 18, 2013


A large asteroid (2012 DA14) passes by earth. That same day a separate asteroid (original thoughts were it was a meteor) kills 1100 in Russia. The next day a large meteor flashes across the Bay area in California. And then not too much later a meteor shower in Florida. What is going on? Is this normal? An what is next?

Well, the largest meteors are sometimes broken bits of asteroids. The Russian Asteroid, first believed to be a Meteor, was said by NASA to be an asteroid that measured 45 feet across and weighed 10,000 tons. With a force of around 400 kilotons, basically a nuclear bomb, the asteroid set of a global network set up to announce nuclear test explosions.

But what happened in the Bay area of California? The Meteor seen in San Francisco was not related to any of the other activity. A blue flash was seen in the sky at 8pm and was tweeted and all over social media. The following night a much smaller meteorite was witnessed. The bright flash of light seen is caused by the hunk of rock or metal burning up as it goes through Earth’s atmosphere. Apparently it was what is known as a sporadic meteor and not all that unusual. While happening far more frequently than most think, normally these events occur over water.

Moving across the country to Florida and our next event we have occurring over water yet another meteor. Social Media was alive with eye witness accounts.

The next named meteor shower is not expected until April. The next comet is expected in March so that could be related. The radiant (or direction of the area that the meteor shower comes from) shows the Asteroid that hit in Russia and the Asteroid that passed earth and wowed scientists around the world were not related. As to the meteors in San Francisco and Florida; Around February 10th there were Alpha Centaurids. And in March there is the PANSTARRS comet. The comet ISON is expected in October of this year. As far as meteor showers we just had the Quadrantid in January, the Lyrid in April, The Eta Aquarids and The Boötids in May & June. The rest of the year we have more, the Delta Aquarids, the Perseids, Orionids, Leonids, and in December the Geminids. Oh, and not to mention we have another visible comet, ISON due to pass around November. If that isn’t enough, theres comet Elenin at the end of the year or perhaps in January of 2014; it’s still too far out to be 100% sure.

The point I am making is simple, there is a lot going on up there and one can count on things landing around earth. So don’t be surprised. As mentioned, it happens often anyway, but the earth is 71% ocean and of the 29% remaining there are freshwater lakes and glaciers. Any of the meteors could land easily unseen.

So no, Chicken Little, the sky is not falling, but keep an eye on the sky because there is a lot to see this year!

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