Fri, 03 Apr 2015 - New interactive Fireball Report form
Have you ever seen a fireball?
Did you report it?
If not, were you put off by being asked for "technical" information, such as azimuths and magnitudes and for your latitude & longitude?
Or were you not sure as to which of many organisations to report it to?
If you did report it, were you informed as to whether anyone else had seen it ?
It is, of course, a challenge to collect sufficiently detailed information from witnesses, without putting them off by becoming too "technical". After all, most witnesses will be ordinary members of the public with little or no familiarity with the night sky.
The good news is that the International Meteor Organisation (IMO) has set up a fireball report form and a central database that can be used by any group anywhere in the world to collect fireball reports.
Any organisation can have its own branded version of the report form. There is a link to the SPA's version at the end of this news item.
The reports received via any of these forms will all be stored in an international database that anyone can view on-line.
Even better news is that the reporting system requires no knowledge of azimuths, magnitudes, latitudes or longitudes or any familiarity with the stars or constellations of the night sky.
You merely start by quoting your postcode or the town or village in which you live.
It then displays a local map on which you can mark your exact location and mark the directions in which you saw the fireball start and end. You also mark how high these points were above the horizon.
You are asked for the local time of the sighting (no need to quote timezones or convert times to GMT/UT - the form does this for you!).
Additional screens then ask you about specific features of the fireball, such as colour(s), its brightness (compared with the Moon or Venus) and fragmentation.
Although you are asked for your contact details, only your first name and the first letter of your last name will be shown in the on-line database. Your contact details will not be visible on-line.
Added by: Tracie Heywood