Cosmic Fireworks

10 December 2010

At there is suddenly a flurry of posts after a long period of inactivity – on meteorites and fireballs. For example, a fireball train in 1913 was recorded by a Canadian painter, Gustav Hahn. The story comes from and continues by saying the meteorite train was seen right across the praire States to the Atlantic coast. They appeared to an observer as slow moving, a perfect formation. A similar train of meteorites occurred in 1860, preserved in a poem by Walt Whitman.

The next piece is by Bob Kobres, who has written material for SIS journals. This is a new one, 'The Gun of Carbonaceous Catastrophism' and recommended reading (see also ). Fullerenes form during high energy events – carbon structures that can sometimes form concentrically when carbon soot is irradiated with ions, an electric beam, or even from carbon crushed at high temperature (see also ). These are known as 'onions' – a play on the word and phenomenon of ions. Kobres then says the Tunguska impactor was a carbonaceous chondrite. He suggests carbon onions are at the heart of ball lightning and facilitate a fusion reaction in some high energy conditions – such as electrical storms, earthquakes, or during impact events. That is an interesting observation as all three may possess an electrical dimension – in the earth as well as in the atmosphere. The thrust of what he then says is that 'electric fireballs' are produced by an electric current in hot air. Finally, he takes a look at some historical events, quoting from different sources, including some books such as The Dragon in China and Japan by MW di Vissar (1913), Three Voyages by Rene Landonnierre (1975), Rare Electrical Phenomena at Sea (1987) and a brief selection of Native American stories – involving fire and boiling water (how Velikovskian). Excellent.

We have another post, 'Dr Edward Teller and the anomalous nature of green fireballs' which is taken from which is based on a conference on aerial phenomena in 1947 at Los Alamos in New Mexico.

The next post, 'The Rupunnian Event' (see ) is all about an event in Guyana in 1935 that occurred near the peak of the Geminid meteor stream. A large ellipse shaped area of tropical forest was flattened. This is followed by another mini-Tunguska event – in Brazil, August of 1930. On this occasion a large area of tropical forest was set ablaze and the fire continued for several months. At this point Mark Bailey of Armagh Observatory – he has spoken at a couple of SIS meetings – is introduced as the main author of a paper (1995) which was an update on the event, trawling various sources such as the Daily Herald (1931), Kulik (1931) and the International Meteor Organisation. The Bailey article is available by clicking the link provided (but don't confuse Mark Bailey with Mike Baillie of Queens University). The date of the event, August 13th, coincides with the peak of the Perseid meteor shower. A seismograph from an observatory at La Paz in Bolivia indicated three explosions took place – which brings us back to a procession of fireballs, within seconds of each other.

Skip to content