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View Full Version : Bright FLash over Texas Skies



Jason A.C. Brock
07-26-2006, 02:00 AM
I am currently sitting on Possum Kingdom Lake on a late night fishing endeavor and witnessed a bright flash to the SE. I figured it was lightning and turned on the laptop I have with me and I see nothing that would produce any lightning withi at least 236 miles which is near Bryan Texas. This is also jsut a shower and not really a thunderstorm. Only thing I would consider even a thundershower would be near Houston at this time which is 323 or so miles.
I did notice this article last night tho on spaceweather.com

METEOR SHOWER: The Southern Delta Aquarid meteor shower peaks on July 28th. Go outside before dawn on Friday morning, look south, and you could see a meteor every five minutes or so.

No one knows where these meteors come from. They could be remains of a long-dead comet or debris from an asteroid-asteroid collision. Curious fact: There is a debris stream nearly parallel to this one. Earth will pass through it on August 8th, producing the Northern Delta Aquarid meteor shower. It's a mystery, too.

Perhaps we saw what is the start of this shower which is usually pretty slow to Moderate at best. Of course it could have jsut been the stray fireball.

Any thoughts? Would lightning be visible from 236-323 miles? This was a very bright flash thats why I am curious. It also kinda flickered like lightning. I was sure a stray thunderstorm had formed near Dallas or just SE of there.

Andrew Pritchard
07-26-2006, 04:27 AM
Not sure what the flash could be related to. I was outside though looking at the stars with the gf tonite nad can confirm that there is a decent meteor shower occuring. We were out for probably 90 minutes or so and saw about 15. This was in town though too, with trees and light pollution.

HAltschule
07-26-2006, 06:04 AM
The peak Perceid Meteor Shower is approaching and I'd bet it was a "shooting star".

rdale
07-26-2006, 07:43 AM
Perseids don't come until August 12th so it's not related at all to them, and when it does occur the moon will be full this time so the show won't be as good as past years.

Bill Schintler
07-26-2006, 02:28 PM
This was a very bright flash thats why I am curious. It also kinda flickered like lightning. I was sure a stray thunderstorm had formed near Dallas or just SE of there.
[/b]

It might have been a power line fault (arcing over from phase to phase or phase to ground). It would be possible for a large line to produce an arc that would light up the night sky for a distance of a mile or more. Power line faults are often caused animals such as birds or squirrels that happen to bridge two conductors on a pole. Faults are also started by lightning or severe wind (power flashes), although that obviously is not the case here. A fault may continue a second or two until circuit breakers interrupt the circuit. Depending on the distance, you might or might not hear any noise associated with it.

- bill

Ben Baranowski
07-26-2006, 10:25 PM
Jason,

What you probably saw was a bolide meteor. If this is truly the case consider yourself very lucky. Bolide meteors are pretty rare. They have to be large enough chuncks of rock to explode as the come through the atmosphere as opposed to regular meteors that just burn up. Lots of reports exist of bolides so bright that you can see your shadow!

Ben

Dave Gallaher
07-27-2006, 12:36 AM
Did the flash have any noticeable color to it?

Jason A.C. Brock
07-27-2006, 09:34 PM
No. Just white basic flash. Just like a sheet lightning flash.

I also noticed alot of meteors last night. I think this shower that will occur tonight may actually be moderate rather than mild as usual.

I may tr to nab some pics later or wake up aout an hour or more before sunrise.

Eric Flescher
07-29-2006, 12:39 AM
Well it could have been a
(1) "sporadic" fireball - not related to any shower
(2) a delta aquarid fireball (most are usually faint in this shower) . A bolide is a fireball that you can hear exploding.
(3) Possible a pre-Perseid . Perseids will be best on the morning of August 11th but Perseids can b e seen before and after.

Perseids have not been great at all the past few years. Very dissappointing. Still some bright ones with trains (dust trails after they dissolve).

This year however the moon will be near or past full moon so many fainter ones will be washed out. That's okay, better to watch for the brighter ones

:)

>>>>>



No. Just white basic flash. Just like a sheet lightning flash.

I also noticed alot of meteors last night. I think this shower that will occur tonight may actually be moderate rather than mild as usual.

I may tr to nab some pics later or wake up aout an hour or more before sunrise.
[/b]

skipper bennett
07-29-2006, 12:52 AM
My wife and I were westbound on U.S. 180 between Weatherford and Mineral Wells late Tuesday night. We were both surprised by a sudden flash of whitish light directly in front of us. When it occurred we were driving through a small valley between two rises in the highway. The flash was low in the sky and silhouetted the horizon.

At first I thought sheet lightning but I knew there were no storms. It did have an appearance of a power line arc. Nevertheless, it was a big surprise.

Jason, we saw one quick, steady flash...........not a pulsing light or several "strokes" similar to some lightning flashes. Was that your observation?

Skipper Bennett

rdale
07-29-2006, 05:42 AM
"A bolide is a fireball that you can hear exploding."

You can't hear a bolide / meteor / etc. A bolide is simply another name for a fireball.

http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2001/ast26nov_1.htm

Since it's just a brief flash, I'm inclined to say something more manmade than natural. Fireballs / meteors are usually lasting on the order of a quarter second, fireballs longer...

Eric Flescher
07-29-2006, 10:45 AM
R

Thanks for the note about the meteor noises. Bolides are not just "fireballs." These bolides explode in midair and sometimes have sound with them.
However there is a difference between "hissing sounds" and "booming bolide sounds." Bolides can "boom" and make loud sounds sometimes occurring as these meteoric object goes through the atmosphere.

More at
http://www.amsmeteors.org/fireball/faqf.html

also
I have seen many fireballs since my first astronomy days. Not many exploding ones . The wierdest fireball was a lime Green stationary fireball about-6 to -8 (not bolide) . In these cases , they come toward you as this one did. This Perseid fireball starts as a little speck coming from the radiant (where the meteors come from and shoot out perpediciular from line of sight). It was like the Star Trek klignon fireball weapon. It got about 1/2 to the size of the moon and then fizzeled away. All I could do was drop my jaw!!! wowwwww

***






"A bolide is a fireball that you can hear exploding."

You can't hear a bolide / meteor / etc. A bolide is simply another name for a fireball.

http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2001/ast26nov_1.htm

Since it's just a brief flash, I'm inclined to say something more manmade than natural. Fireballs / meteors are usually lasting on the order of a quarter second, fireballs longer...
[/b]

Darren Addy
12-19-2006, 03:48 PM
This may be of interest (http://www.metafilter.com/mefi/56209). As you can see in the video, bolides can do a double-flash. There are some cool YouTube videos of bolides in the comments.

David Dildine
12-19-2006, 07:09 PM
On October 24 this year, I was outside around 1 AM under a new moon in the Outer Banks of North Carolina when an ENORMOUS fireball lit up the sky.

Everything from foreground to horizon lit up brighter-than-day as this huge meteor blasted across the sky, directly overhead. The fireball's outline was the relative size of your fist, when your arm is fully extended in front of your face and was surrounded by a veil of green and blue hues. The tail lingered in the sky for about THREE seconds, AFTER the thing flew by. The total event lasted an un-exaggerated FIVE seconds.

I will never look at any other astronomical event the same way again. I've seen large fireballs before but this was unprecedented. It looked like something that could have wiped out the dinosaurs, or something you'd expect to see during the climax of a psychedelic trip. I was looking for a place to report it at the time but couldn't find a good place to start. The link above is a good resource.


I've seen huge fireballs during the daytime and nighttime before but this was absolutely life-changing.


&&