Monday, December 8, 2008

Tumbling Toolbag & Conjunction Photo Gallery

Space Weather News for Dec. 6, 2008

COLORADO FIREBALL: Last night, a fireball one hundred times brighter than the full Moon lit up the sky near Colorado Springs, Colorado. Astronomer Chris Peterson photographed the event using an all-sky video camera dedicated to meteor studies. "In seven years of operation, this is the brightest fireball I've ever recorded. I estimate the terminal explosion at magnitude -18." Meteors this bright are called superbolides; they are caused by small (meter-class) asteroids and are likely to pepper the ground with meteorites when they explode. Visit to watch the fireball video and contribute sighting reports that could help pinpoint any meteoritic debris.

TUMBLING TOOLBAG: The space station's famous sidekick, the ISS Toolbag, is circling Earth and reportedly producing flashes of light bright enough to record using off-the-shelf digital cameras. The flashes, shown in a photo on today's edition of, could be a sign that the bag is tumbling. Both the Toolbag and the ISS will be making a series of evening passes over North America and Europe in the evenings ahead, so now is a good time to look. Check the Simple Satellite Tracker for viewing times:

BONUS: The Dec. 1st Great Conjunction Photo Gallery continues to grow with daily additions from around the world. Start browsing here:

Terri, Events Coordinator
Phoenix Astronomical Society