Canadians bored with hockey and beer (seems improbable but they exist) are looking skyward these days and spotting fireballs, which are defined by the International Astronomical Union as meteors brighter than planets with a magnitude of -4 or greater.
This large basketball-sized one occurred at 10:24 p.m. on March 18 and was captured on video by filmed by cameras operated by several cameras from Western University’s Southern Ontario Meteor Network and by cameras in Ohio and Pennsylvania operated jointly with NASA’s Meteoroid Environment Office. The fireball is estimated to have exploded 47 miles above Port Dover, Ontario and broke up about two hours west of Toronto. Professional and amateur meteorite hunters are searching for fragments St. Thomas, Ontario.
On March 19, another fireball was spotted over Nova Scotia at 5:17 a.m. Is this a trend or a coincidence? Bill Cooke, head of NASA’s Meteoroid Environment Office, said this at a news conference:
We do tend to see more fireballs just before early spring.
How many more? According to NASA, the rate of fireballs increases 10 to 30 per cent around the spring equinox. However, other astronomers say that the number spotted so far this year in Canada has not been unusual and the close occurrences of these two is just a coincidence.
If you’re looking for meteors, the 5.am. time that the second fireball was seen is actually the best time to spot them because that’s when you’re in position to be on the front edge of the Earth as it passes through space and in the perfect location to run into meteors, like a car windshield hitting bugs.
You might want to wear a helmet