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Meteor Streaks Over Arizona, Scatters On Tucson

December 13
00:22 2013

geminiA meteor sighting over the Arizona skies caused quite a stir last Tuesday night when it streaked over Arizona skies, then broke up and scattered debris over Marana, North of Tucson. From Las Vegas to Tucson, social media exploded with reports that a bright object streaked across the horizon with a big sonic boom.

A large meteor entered the earth’s atmosphere northeast of Phoenix around 7:11 PM Tuesday December 10, 2013, and broke up over Marana, North of Tucson. The massive fireball caused sonic booms, rattled windows and scattered much of its debris on the northwest side of Tucson. Now, scientists are hunting in Tucson for the remnants.

Robert Ward, a Volunteer Planetary Sciences Field Researcher with the Chicago Field Museum drove down on Dec. 11 from Prescott after receiving information about the event from NASA.  He is one of a team of ex-military freelance meteorite hunters searching for pieces of the meteor in Northwest Tucson.

Meteor Shower Peaks Friday and Saturday

Watch the sky for more meteors in the coming days with the Geminid meteor shower set to peak on Friday and Saturday.  According to Meteor Showers Online, this meteor shower gets the name “Geminids” because it appears to radiate from the constellation Gemini. An observer in the Northern Hemisphere can start seeing Geminid meteors as early as December 6, when one meteor every hour or so could be visible. During the next week, rates increase until a peak of 50-80 meteors per hour is attained on the night of December 13/14. The last Geminids are seen on December 18, when an observer might see a rate of one every hour or so.

Where is Gemini?

Gemini is one of the 48 constellations described by the 2nd century AD astronomer Ptolemy and it remains one of the 88 modern constellations today. Its name is Latin for “twins,” and it is associated with the twins Castor and Pollux in Greek mythology.To locate the Geminids, look at the charts on Meteor Showers Online. The brightest stars in Gemini are Castor and Pollux.

Meteor Exploded Over Russia on Feb. 15, 2013

On Feb 15, 2013, a meteor streaked across the sky and exploded over Russia’s Ural Mountains with the power of an atomic bomb. It’s sonic blasts shattered countless windows and injured about 1,100 people. The meteor — estimated to be about 10 tons and 49 feet wide — entered the Earth’s atmosphere at a hypersonic speed of at least 33,000 mph and shattered into pieces about 18-32 miles above the ground. Meteors typically cause sizeable sonic booms when they enter the atmosphere because they are traveling so much faster than the speed of sound.

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