Sunday, November 26, 2017

Meteors & fireballs & bolides, oh my!

Dear Skywatchers,

Another exciting lexicographical discovery here at the Dodo:  An unusually bright meteor is known as a 'fireball!'  I have been calling unexplained lights in the sky fireballs for decades, without realizing that there was an official definition for the word.  I hope we can forgive my misuse of the term and get on with celebrating this wonderful word of meteoritic precision!

A little over a week ago I saw one of these wonderful fireballs and staff here at the Dodo discovered that I could 'report' my sighting.  You can report it too, right here at the American Meteor Society, and learn more about the bolides, too, if you like.

You'll be wondering why the people that tell us the weather are not the people who we report meteors to, and the answer is that Greek word meteoron from which meteor is taken meant 'something aloft,' or something in the sky.  Which means that the somethings that fall from the sky and are in the sky are rain and snow and hail- all classes of hydrometeors.

Here's a little more on the meteorite collection in the Natural History Museum of Vienna.