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November 2008 Taurid Meteor Shower Pictures/Video

go back to HOME for video of a Taurid Fireball Meteor that fell on November 7, 2009 at 10:20PM in Western Arkansas


There have been several reports of a fireball that streaked across the sky of Western Arkansas on Sunday Night (November 9, 2008) around 7:30PM. People reported hearing sonic booms and several made calls into 911. Police and Fire had to check out the calls but nothing was found to explain the noise. There was also a report out of Spiro, OK (just west of Fort Smith) that was on that mentioned several Taurid Fireballs were observed at the same time. There were other reports at the same time of seeing fireballs streaking across the sky in various parts of west and northwest Arkansas. I had my camera out every night since the 6th trying to get some of the Taurid Fireballs. I saw the report on of the fireballs seen from Spiro, Oklahoma on Sunday Night around 7:30PM and so I immediately rushed out to get the cf card out of my camera to see if I got anything. Sure enough at the exact time as the reports I got this:

I had my camera setup to take continuous 30 second pictures and it was up from just after sunset to 1:30AM. I have looked through all of the images very carefully and didn't see any other meteors or signs. I even looked for any change in shadow/brightness that might have hinted at there having been a bright meteor that was out of the field of vision of my camera...but I didn't see anything at all but the moons brightness certainly could have washed out any signs.. Here is the full version of the meteor with constellation lines thrown on to show location/scale.

Because of the moon I was only shooting about half the sky (NNE) and because there were reports of several fireballs occurring nearly simultaneously, its very possible this meteor is not the exact one that caused the boom reports. The direction the image is looking is NE.

This is from Bob Moody (President of the Arkansas Astronomical Society):
Hi, Brian. Congratulations, I DO believe you've caught the culprit! I've taken thousands of pictures trying to catch even one small streak from a meteor, and I've caught only a couple of these in many years of trying. This is easily the brightest meteor I've seen from any local amateur astronomer, and somewhat brighter than my approx 7th mag fireball above. Along with the effects from the all-too-bright moon added into the equation, I'd estimate this as easily a 9th or 10th magnitude meteor that would have caused a LOT more people to notice it had it been in a dark night setting without any moonlight. I may be estimating a slight bit low here, but I don't think I'm off by more than 1 or 1.5 magnitudes and that's still a very bright meteor any way you look at it. The moonlight probably kept the number of eyewitness reports down, if we get any at all. The image itself also reveals some interesting features. It appears as if the direction of travel was from left-to-right, where it began as a relatively bright meteor, then flared and began to fragment immediately. The slight narrowing of the flare then brightening again and the abrupt end to the right side looks, to me, like this was a break-up into a number of remaining pieces along with some amount of dust that then was mostly consumed by the atmospheric friction from hyper-velocity flight. The dim streak emanating from the terminal burst MAY have been a small piece still glowing from friction that finally was consumed by friction before disappearing completely. I suspect that the nearly level flight seen in your picture may have been much more inclined to the horizon if we'd seen another shot of it from approximately 70 -to-90 degrees either side of the view captured by your camera. If it had been a meteor that burned up during a flat trajectory as it appears, it should NOT have penetrated deeply enough into the atmosphere to have created a sonic boom. If it had instead been coming more AT YOU than across from you, its flight would naturally appear more flattened and that would also have increased the amount of time involved in how long the meteor lasted, too. With a fisheye lens, you probably caught a streak of maybe 30-40 degrees in length, but I wonder if from a different perspective, it might not have been much more inclined and much more lengthy as well. Another report from an eyewitness or from other imagers that night who might have been in the Little Rock-to-Columbia, MO, or from the Tulsa-to-Topeka or even the OKC-to-Wichita area might be very helpful here. I don't claim to be an expert by any stretch of the imagination even though I've studied reports of the Great Fireball from June 9, 1920 very carefully, but I think what you captured here is most likely the object that created the sonic boom from Sunday, November 9, 2008, at approximately 7:30pm. GREAT JOB!!!

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