Notable Meteors & Fireballs : 2016 December

Here, in reverse chronological order, is a summary of notable meteor activity reported during December 2016:

2016 Dec 29th  00:07 UT

This fireball was reported by Martin Veasey (Great Missenden, Bucks). Martin describes it as being pale yellow in colour, and showing some flaring, but no fragmentation, as it travelled from near the Hyades towards near Lambda Tauri. He estimated it to be of magnitude -6 and having a duration of approx 3 seconds.

There are also reports of this fireball being seen from Barrow (Cumbria), Clitheroe (Lancs), Catshill (Worcs) and Kingston upon Thames (Surrey).


2016 Dec 14th  05:44 GMT

This Geminid fireball was imaged by William Stewart (Ravensmoor, Cheshire – see right) and seen visually by Tom Banks (Comberbach, Cheshire).

Tom estimated the fireball to be around magnitude -6. From his location, the fireball started in Draco, crossed the top of Hercules and ended in Lyra.

Only the start of the fireball was within the field of view of William’s camera.

Unfortunately, there are no other reports of this fireball. Although it was Geminid maximum, most of the UK was under cloud – and the partial clearance that included this fireball and that at 04:49 UT only affected a small part of the UK. Alex Pratt (Leeds) did have fairly clear skies but didn’t have a camera pointing at the part of the sky in which this fireball would have been visible.


2016 Dec 14th  04:49 GMT

This Geminid fireball was imaged by William Stewart (Ravensmoor – see right) and Jeremy Shears (Bunbury Cheshire) and was seen visually by Tom Banks (Comberbach).

Tom estimated the brightest part of the fireball to be of magnitude -8. From Tom’s location, the fireball started in Ursa Minor and ended in Draco, close to its border with Cygnus and Lyra.

Once again, only the start of the fireball (at the top left of the image) was recorded by Wiliam’s video camera, Indeed, William didn’t initially realise that he had imaged the fireball. The software that runs with his video camera didn’t save a clip of the fireball itself. However, it was included near the end of an earlier saved video clip that had been initiated due to an aircraft passing through the camera’s field of view.

Tom described the fireball as fragmenting as it passed through the Ursa Minor-Draco area and described its colours as “blue-green-yellow” . He commented that it reminded him of burning magnesium ribbon in the school chemistry lab.


2016 Dec 11th  00:25 GMT

This fireball was seen visually by Tom Banks(Comberbach).

Tom estimated it to be of magnitude -6 and described it as being yellow-orange in colour and being consistently bright, with no flaring.

Tom believes that it was most likely a sporadic meteor. His record of the fireball’s path, from Gemini to Leo Minor, is shown on this map that he has supplied.