[meteorite-list] Fireball Reports

From: Ed Majden <epmajden_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Thu Apr 22 09:48:10 2004
Message-ID: <005e01c14cfa$78867fe0$879d4318_at_cc.shawcable.net>

    Fireball reports are often submitted to the media, newsgroups, etc but
more often than not do not contain the necessary information to plot a
ground path or a possible fall area. I have included a guide that should
remind you what type of information is required if your report is to be of
use. The techniques are not complicated so every effort should be made to
include such information.

 1. Time of the event indicating your time zone and date.
 2. Your location - longitude, latitude, and elevation if possible.
 3. Compass direction of where you first observed the fireball and its
     elevation above the horizon.
 4. Compass direction of where you last observed the fireball and its
     elevation above the horizon.

 (Of course it is understood that most don't carry a compass or an elevation
 measuring instrument around but this information should be obtained as soon
 as possible after the event when it is still fresh in your mind. All that
 is required is a simple hiking compass and an elevation measuring device.
 The latter can be a simple roof slope measuring protractor available at
 lumber supply or hardware stores for less than $10:00. You can make a
 simple one yourself with a protractor and a string with a weight on it.
 Your compass directions should state whether the heading is magnetic or
 converted to true north). The measurements should be taken at the location
you observed the fireball from.

 5. Indicate if the fireball was moving right-to-left or left-to-right.

     From a single observing location if is often not possible to say that
 the fireball is moving in a particular direction. You are only seeing the
 apparent path across the sky. The fireball could be moving toward you or
 away from you so your direction for the apparent path may be meaningless.

 6. If you have a camcorder with you USE it! Sadly, often the only piece of
    information that is missing is the velocity of the fireball. Visual
    estimates are not accurate so this should obtained with an instrument
like a
    video camcorder. Frame counts can be used to determined apparent
    and actual velocity if the event is recorded from two different
   Otherwise velocities must be estimated reducing the accuracy of the plot.

 7. Include any other observed phenomenon of interest. Sound if any, sonic
    boom, colour, fragmentation if any. Slope of the path if you can
    it, etc. Contact information like a phone number, so you can be
    for an interview if necessary.

  8. Report your observation to a fireball reporting agency. The American
   Meteor Society collects reports for observers in the USA as does the IMO.
   MIAC is the reporting agnency for Canadian observers.

 Ed Majden - Sandia Bolide Detection Station - Courtenay B.C. Canada
Received on Thu 04 Oct 2001 01:31:58 PM PDT

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