Sighting: 2014 September 09

Fireball in Mokopane at 20:26, perceived to be travelling from a north eastward to south westward direction. It appeared red/orange in colour. No trail behind it of such. Was this a comet?

There was no sound, it appeared to be moving slowly across the sky. I would estimate the object moved across a sight line of 45 degrees in a westward direction over ~10 seconds. It was red/orange and for a split second I thought it appeared to get brighter and perhaps fragment a little. In terms of a brightness scale I’m not sure how to describe it. It was very obvious and bright but it was not a white brightness. It was red/orange, much larger and closer than any shooting stars I have seen. The size was smaller than the moon but 100 times bigger than any stars appear to the human eye.

Having spoken with Bokkie who also witness this we think it may have been travelling even slower than my estimate. Perhaps even 20 or 30 seconds to travel through 45 degrees of our sight line.

What is the difference between a meteor and a fireball?
I hope this can assist.

Report back, Kos Coronaios:
Hi Fiona,

I have attached text below from your previous email.

Thanks again for taking the time to report and add to this event. Yours is the only report received thus far but sometimes it takes a day or so for others to respond. Will ask the ASSA Shallow Sky Director and Specialists to respond as well and pass on any information to you.

The difference between a meteor and a fireball comes down to brightness. A fireball is a meteor brighter than magnitude -4, this is the IAU’s definition (International Astronomical Union). the International Meteor Organization defines it as a meteor that would have a magnitude of -3 or brighter at the zenith. As an example the planet Venus shines at just under magnitude -4 (-3.9)in our morning skies at the moment, while Jupiter is just under magnitude -2 (-1.9).

I think what you probably witnessed was meteor entering the atmosphere possibly glowing brighter than usual. Will keep you updated if I have more information.

Kind Regards,

Kos Coronaios
ASSA Observing Director