Fireball 29-05-1994 / 09:32 UT

Daylight fireball over the Northsea

Dear meteorfriends!

This is the FIFTH and LAST newsbulletin of wednesday june 8, 00:00 UT
on the bright Northsea fireball. This newsbulletin has been compiled
by members of the Dutch Meteor Society including Hans Betlem, Jacob
Kuiper, Marc de Lignie, Robert Haas, Marco Langbroek, Alex Scholten
and Klaas Jobse. After we performed azimuth- and elevation-measurements
at a number of observers we may come to a conclusion regarding the
Northsea fireball of may 29.

Date        :  Sunday, may 29, 1994
Time        :  09:32 UT +- 1 minute
Magnitude   :  Much brighter than the full moon, but less than the sun.
               According to many observers: on a scale from moon to
               sun, the brightness is more comparable to the sun.
               Most probable: -20 +- 3. Most observers report:
               intens flashlight, dazzling, like a welding flame.
Duration    :  The brightest part of the fireball (the flash) lasted for
               about 2 +- 1 seconds. Because of the daylight the
               first part of the fireball has not been noticed by most
Observers   :  Observers are located along the whole Dutch coastal area
               which was mostly cloudless at that moment.
               Many observations have been recorded from the south-east
               coast of the British isles.
               Also observations from Belgium are reported.
Direction   :  As seen from the province of Zeeland most observers
               report a north to north-west direction. Observers at
               more northern locations along the Dutch coast (Den Helder)
               report a western direction.
               The fireball has been observed by aircraft crew flying
               over the Netherlands. They too report a N-W direction.
               As indicated by Neil Bone from the BAA most British
               observers report the fireball east of Suffolk.
               This is in perfect agreement with Dutch observations.
Elevation   :  Beginpoint about 10-20 degrees as seen from the Dutch
               coastal areas.
               Endpoint about 5 to 10 degrees.
Height      :  The height of the fireball at the start of the brightest
               part is about 30 kilometres.
               The height of the endpoint is about 15 kilometres.
Location    :  Combining the measurements of direction and elevation
               and the entrance angle should yield the trajectory of
               the fireball in the earth atmosphere.
               We now may conclude the fireball appeared about 100 to
               150 kilometres west of Egmond aan zee. This little
               town at the Dutch coast is located about 40 kilometres
               south of Den Helder.
               Presumable the trajectory is directed from about NNE
               to SSW.
Length      :  Dutch observers note the length of the brightest part
               of the fireball is short: about 5 to 10 degrees.
Entrance    :  The entrance angle is supposed to be 45 to 60 degrees.
Velocity    :  From duration and length of the trajectory we may
               calculate the velocity: about 10 kilometres/second.
Colours     :  Many colours have been reported. Most reported colours
               so far are: light yellow to red. But also green and blue
               is reported.
               Neil Bone reports a typically yellow-orange object,
               with distinct head followed by a short "tail".
               Some observers report a dust-trail.
Trail       :  As the meteor appeared in daylight hours this is
               hard to tell.
Pers. train :  Many independent observers report a smoke/dust-trail
               lasting from some minutes to half an hour! Reported
               colours are: white, grey and blueish.
               Images from METEOSAT and NOAA weather satellites do not
               show the above mentioned smoke/dust-trail.
Photo's     :  We regret we have no photo's available of the
               smoke/dust-trail but are still working on it.
Fragmentation: Most Dutch observers do NOT report any fragmentation. But
               an UA aircraft crew reports a rain of flashes. Also from
               BBC-text one may deduce observers have seen fragmentation.
               This should be clarified.
Shockwaves  :  No shockwaves are recorded by the Dutch Meteorological
               Office while the fireball appeared above the tropopause.
Sound       :  Not reported by Dutch observers.
Satellite   :  No satellite re-entry is expected due to the big entrance
               angle and no entry was expected.
Impact      :  Combining all information now available we now presume
               a meteorite fall (splash...) is possible! Please note
               the low velocity and no fragmentation make this assumption
Orbit       :  Orbital calculations lead us to the conclusion the
               Northsea fireball is a member of the asteroid belt
               between Mars and Jupiter. The computed low inclination
               too points to this conclusion.
Radar       :  Has to be determined yet from Dutch air command.

Remark      :  Note that direction and elevation have been measured
               from visual observations made by non-professionals.
               Data presented in this report should therefore treated
               with care! This is why we include relatively large
               margins to the figures given above.

This newsbulletin will be send to all known observers of the IMO in
western Europe, to the FIDAC Administration and to SEAN (Brian Marsden).
A report on this extremely bright fireball will be published in WGN,
the journal of the IMO. The Dutch Meteor Society would be much pleased
to learn more about this extraordinary fireball. Especially more
detailed observations from the British isles are much welcomed.
If very important observations will come in which might change our
conclusions we will let you know. We would like to thank all observers
for their valuable observational reports without we would not be able
to derive the characteristics of this very exceptional fireball.

Please send all reports to the address below:

Many best wishes,


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