Giant Fireball Lights Up Night Sky as Meteors Shower October Sky
Hundreds of people reported seeing a fireball streak through the night sky Tuesday night just ahead of peak times to see two meteor showers this month.
Screenshot of a video of the fireball caught from UTSC Observatory in Toronto, Canada.University of Toronto Scarborough Observatory
As of this writing, the American Meteor Society (AMS) received more than 700 reports about the event seen over the eastern Great Lakes region.
The fireball was seen primarily from Ontario but witnesses from New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Jersey, Washington DC, Michigan, West Virginia, Delaware, Massachusetts, Virginia and Québec also reported the event.
Witnesses Location and First Estimated TrajectoryAmerican Meteor Society
Initially, some in the Toronto area were worried that it may have been a plane crashing out of the sky. Toronto police and fire services told AMS they received multiple calls about a "plane crashing into the Toronto Harbour." Thankfully, that wasn't the case.
For some, the streak of bright light across the sky was accompanied by a sonic boom, according to The Washington Post. The hashtags #meteor and #fireball spread on Twitter, and the University of Toronto Scarborough Observatory posted a video of the fireball:
A timelapse showing the view from #UTSC during the last 40 minutes. https://t.co/9gDPnlDwsD— UTSC Observatory (@UTSC Observatory)1475637053.0
Mike Hankey, operations manager for the American Meteor Society, told the Washington Post that the fact that so many people reported the fireball makes it one of the "top 10 events of the year."
"What struck me is that people from Canada to Southern Maryland saw it," Hankey said. "That means it was pretty bright."
While AMS has yet to say what the fireball was, Hankey said the most likely scenario is that it was an asteroid or a piece of a comet that may potentially end up as meteorites on the ground, which makes sense considering we are in a month where a major meteor shower, the Orionids, is taking place all month long.
Earth is currently passing through the tail of debris left behind by Halley's Comet—which happens twice a year—making the Orionids visible through Nov. 7 with maximum activity on Oct. 22, according to AMS.
At the shower's peak, stargazers could see up between 10 and 20 meteors per hour, according to EarthSky. The best time to try to get out and seen them is during the moonless predawn hours. Unfortunately, the moon is not cooperating this year with the peak time to see the meteors. The full moon comes on Oct. 15 and it will be Hunter's Moon, the first of this year's three supermoons, which will hinder visibility around the peak date. So EarthSky recommends you start watching now to try catch a peek of an Orionid meteor or two.
At the same time the Orionids are in our orbit, the Draconids will also be visible, from Oct. 5-8, in the northern region of the sky.
Look for the waxing crescent moon near the planet Mars as darkness fall on October 7, 2016.EarthSky
The projected number of meteors during the Draconid meteor shower is around 10-20 fireballs per hour, and can easily be spotted without a telescope, according to Nature World News. Unlike the Orionids, EarthSky recommends heading out earlier to watch the Draconids, just as nighttime falls in the early evening. While most meteor showers are best after midnight, this one is not. The peak night to watch is Oct. 7, so grab a blanket, find a nice dark area, lie down and face north.
Toxins in water produced by cyanobacteria was likely responsible for more than 300 elephant deaths in Botswana this year, the country's wildlife department announced on Monday.
How Did Cyanobacteria Poison the Elephants?<p>Cyanobacteria are microscopic organisms common in water and sometimes found in soil. Some cyanobacteria produce neurotoxins.</p><p>The cyanobacteria "was growing in pans" or watering holes, the principal veterinary officer of the Department of Wildlife and National Parks, Mmadi Reuben, told reporters.</p><p>Reuben said the deaths had "stopped towards the end of June 2020, coinciding with the drying of pans."</p><p>"However we have many questions still to be answered such as why the elephants only and why that area only? We have a number of hypotheses we are investigating," added Reuben.</p><p>Similar elephant deaths have also been recorded in neighboring Zimbabwe.</p>
Climate Change to Blame?<p>Not all cyanobacteria are toxic but scientists say varieties dangerous to humans and animals are occurring more frequently as climate change drives up global temperatures.</p><p>Southern Africa's temperatures are rising at twice the global average, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.</p>
Elephant Paradise?<p>Africa's overall elephant population is declining due to poaching. But Botswana, home to almost a third of the continent's elephants, has seen numbers grow to around 130,000.</p><p>Botswana's government said it was continuing studies into the occurrence of the deadly bacteria. In the winter, elephants hydrate themselves mainly by eating roots and bark, especially of the baobab tree.</p>
- Hundreds of Botswana's Elephants Are Dying From Mysterious Cause ›
- How Botswana's Sudden Elephant Deaths Impact the Species ... ›
- In 'Conservation Disaster,' Hundreds of Botswana's Elephants Are ... ›
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Alexandra Villarreal
As West coast wildfires color the skies dystopian red and orange and an aggressive hurricane season batters the U.S. Gulf coast, college students are demanding their schools take bold action to address the climate crisis.
- NYC Public Schools to Excuse Climate Strikers - EcoWatch ›
- Portuguese Youth Activists Sue 33 Countries Over Climate Crisis ... ›
- Students Rally for Fossil Fuel Divestment at Ohio State University ... ›
The National Hurricane Center has run out of names for tropical storms this year and has now moved on to the Greek alphabet during an extremely active hurricane season. Late Monday night, Tropical Storm Beta became the ninth named storm to make landfall. That's the first time so many named storms have made landfall since 1916, when Woodrow Wilson was president, according to NBC News.
- Extreme Weather Suggests Future Climate Crisis Is Already Here ... ›
- Atlantic Faces Fifth 'Above-Normal' Hurricane Season in a Row ... ›
By Karen L. Smith-Janssen
Colette Pichon Battle gave a December 2019 TEDWomen Talk on the stark realities of climate change displacement, and people took notice. The video racked up a million views in about two weeks. The attorney, founder, and executive director of the Gulf Coast Center for Law & Policy (GCCLP) advocates for climate justice in communities of color. Confronted with evidence showing how her own South Louisiana coastal home of Bayou Liberty will be lost to flooding in coming years, the 2019 Obama Fellow dedicates herself to helping others still reeling from the impacts of Katrina face the heavy toll that climate change has taken—and will take—on their lives and homelands. Her work focuses on strengthening multiracial coalitions, advocating for federal, state, and local disaster mitigation measures, and redirecting resources toward Black communities across the Gulf South.
Between 2000 and 2013, Earth lost an area of undisturbed ecosystems roughly the size of Mexico.
- Planting Projects, Backyard Habitats Can Re-Create Livable Natural ... ›
- Humans Are Destroying Wildlife at an Unprecedented Rate, New ... ›
- UN Biodiversity Chief: Humans Risk Living in an 'Empty World' With ... ›
- Scientists Warn Worse Pandemics Are on the Way if We Don't ... ›
- Coronavirus Pandemic Linked to Destruction of Wildlife and World's ... ›