Friday, January 04, 2019

On The Last Day of 2018...

... I woke long before the sunrise and ventured out in the 30 degree temps to see if I could see Jupiter rising above the mountains in the clear eastern sky. I was hoping to see it with Mercury, Venus, and the moon which were clearly visible. I waited a bit, but no. I only saw the two planets and the moon. I turned to walk back into the house and looked west behind the moon. There was a fireball meteor streaking right to left across the sky. It was spectacular. It had a red fiery top and a green streak of a tail. I saw it briefly and was utterly blown away. I ran into the house shouting to Roger about what I had just seen. I wrote a friend on Facebook who had mentioned seeing a meteor in her skies just the other day. It was such a profound moment, I suddenly wanted to know if anyone else saw it. Did I imagine it? Was it a crazy cold morning hallucination? So I googled around and found a website, the American Meteor Society that has a link devoted to pending fireball sightings. I checked their morning list and found I was definitely not alone. Several other people in northern California and southern Oregon had reported the same sighting at the same time of the morning. Yes! I did really see it. I found an image online that looked quite like what I saw. It's a photo of a fireball that had been seen in Los Angeles a while ago. I've seen many "shooting stars" and meteors streak across the sky in a bright starlit line. But I had never seen anything quite like this before.
Image borrowed from the internet. A fireball in southern California.
I added my sighting to the website pending list. They evaluate the sightings and their response email said, "If several people saw the same phenomenon and if this phenomenon is a fireball, your report will be grouped by our team with other reports into an event."

I checked the list and as of Thursday morning, it was confirmed! It is now called Event number 5932-2018. I saw a fireball, and truly it was a brief but spectacular moment.

I will always be grateful that I run outside at all times of the day and night to take a look at what might be happening in the sky. Every now and then there is a sight that I'll remember for the rest of my life. A fireball shooting across the sky! What a grand universe we live in.

That was the last day of 2018. I'll tell you soon how 2019 began. Here's a hint, the phone rang at 6:30 in the morning. We both hoped it was a wrong number. It wasn't. It was a dearly loved family member calling to say she was in a hospital Emergency Room. And so the new year began.

28 comments:

  1. I saw a bolide once more than 30 years ago. I just happened to look up in the sky as it exploded. There was a bright flash that I expected to be accompanied by a huge bang, but there was no sound. There was a little smokey cloud left that slowly dissipated. The most amazing sight I ever saw was, of course, the magnificent display of halos and arcs a few years ago. It's interesting how strongly seeing something like these things affects a person. Or can affect them, I guess, depending on how willing the are to be amazed.

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    1. Mark-- I love that you saw that amazing display of halos and arcs. And, I also love what you wrote about how willing you are to be amazed. That's simply the coolest way to look at it. Yes, I want to be amazed!

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  2. What a blessing! I can understand how people see such things as omens, given how those of us who understand that such sightings are just part of living in the solar system and not messages from God, nevertheless feel so blessed to see such an occurrence. I'm TOTALLY jealous (in a good way) that you saw colors! Yowser!
    We are blessed beyond words to live on this beautiful earth.
    Technically, Handsel Monday is the first Monday of the new year, but I think in this case, you received your handsel on the last Monday of the year--or that really was the first day of the new year.

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    1. CCorax- It was the colors that amazed me. I just couldn't believe I was seeing such a thing. Yet there it was. I've never heard of Handsel Monday, but I did get quite a gift on the last day of the year.

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  3. What an amazing sight! And how cool that there's a web site where you can report it and share information with others. This is the kind of miraculous stuff the Internet can do, when it's not subverting our presidential elections.

    I have never seen a fireball like that, though I have seen (of course) shooting stars. Again -- amazing! I hope to see one too someday.

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    1. Steve-- It truly was an amazing sight. Of course now I want to see one every time I look up into the sky. I remember a line from the poem The Peace of Wild Things by Wendell Berry, "And I feel above me the day-blind stars
      waiting with their light." All the time, the sky and planets and stars and meteors are above us. I wish we could see it all, all the time.

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  4. I'm pretty sure I saw the Aurora Borealis (the Northern Lights) when I was a kid in North Dakota. Or I may have imagined that memory.

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    1. Catalyst-- I think seeing the Aurora Borealis would be an unforgettable experience. You saw it!!

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  5. I saw a fireball several years ago on my way home from work. At first I thought it was an airplane crashing. It was that near. I was at a stop light and all the people just looked at one another in disbelief. It truly was thrilling.

    So sorry your New Year began with bad news. Here's hoping it's not catastrophic.

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    1. NCmountainwoman-- I love knowing that you saw a fireball. It really is quite a thrilling moment. We've been going to the hospital everyday since the 1st to see Roger's daughter. She is responding well to the antibiotics and still no definitive diagnosis. Thank you for your kind words.

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  6. Wow, what a fantastic bit of luck you had! I have never seen anything like that, not even a shooting star. Perhaps when I wake in the middle of the night or very early morning, I should venture outside as well. I hope your family member is on the mend. I ended the old and started the new with visits to urgent care - first for an upper respiratory infection that left me with some violent coughing fits, and second for a broken rib that occurred from said violent coughing fits. Always an adventure.

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    1. Sharon-- Yes, it was a fantastic bit of luck! So sorry to read about your urgent care and broken rib. Oy. My twin brother once broke his rib in the same way, heavy coughing. Hope you are on the mend. My step-daughter is still the hospital. We've been visiting with her everyday. She's getting better, but still will be in for a few more days. Such a bummer. I plan to do a post about it.

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  7. I have seen shooting stars, but yet to see a fire ball.

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    1. Haddock-- Thank you so much for stopping by. How did you ever find this blog? I hope you do see a fireball someday. It's truly stunning.

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  8. Sending love to your dear family member as she heals.

    Astonishing to read that you saw a fireball meteor! On Friday morning, I was visiting with a friend who is under hospice care in her senior living apartment and well taken care of by two of her daughters and hospice caregivers. Her third daughter traveled from Singapore in December so that her mother could witness her marriage in the courthouse in Seattle. My friend is now on morphine for pain connected with untreatable cancer and is at peace at the end of her long life. On Wednesday, she had sent out an email for friends to visit to say goodbye. Soon after I arrived, a couple arrived with their Golden Retriever. My friend has a deep love for animals as well as people. The woman with the Golden Retriever told a story about seeing a spectacular fireball meteor! I wonder if it was the same one you saw!

    I will not forget my friend's graciousness and the aura of peace that surrounds her in the last days of her life. I will connect it with your fireball meteor sighting.

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    1. am-- Oh wow! I also wonder if your friend's friend saw the same meteor. That would be so cool. And, I love the connection of your friend's aura of peace and the fireball sighting. It's a beautiful coincidence.

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  9. I love that you saw a fireball. A couple of times when I've seen very bright ones, I've checked that site -- it must be the same I've checked - and found other accounts there. So cool as they can use the cumulative reports to calculate the trajectory, etc.. I like Am's story as well. So neat that they may have seen the same fireball. We are all connected.

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    1. bev-- It was such a beautiful moment. I was thinking about it this morning and remembered a line from The Beatles' song, "Had it been another day I might have looked the other way." The story of life, that.

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  10. Great, aren't they? I saw a fireball in Wales a few years ago. I couldn't believe my eyes. Another time, heard eerie bangs from the sky. Turned out to be space junk breaking up. If one keeps looking at the sky one sees all sorts! You seem to get a better view of the sky if you live up a hill as we do.

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    1. Sackerson-- I keep thinking I should build a tower or move up into the mountains high enough for a sky view all the way to the ocean.

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    2. Trouble is, where do you stop? We're 600 feet up and I'm keenly aware that we'd get an even better view from an even bigger hill!

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    3. Sackerson-- Good question. I think I need a 360 degree view to make me happy! But then, I also want to be able to walk into town. I want it all!

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  11. What an amazing sight to behold on the final day of such a turbulent year. I see it as a hopeful sign for no reason I can articulate. I do hope your family member will be ok.

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    1. 37paddington-- I loved seeing that fireball and now wish I could see one everyday. Family member is still in hospital. May be released tomorrow. No answers yet. Sigh.

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  12. I have never witnessed a fireball in the sky. Not likely I will, as I am adverse to rising and going out into 30-something temps. So, I'm glad you watch the skies, both at night and during the day, and report back to us.

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    1. Tara-- You know me, I run outside all the time, but this... this was amazing. Probably never to be repeated in my lifetime. Not that they don't happen all the time, they do. But it took me 66 years to see this one!

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  13. Don't know how I missed this post. Wow what an experience. Pretty sure if I'd seen it I'd have been both excited and maybe a tiny bit fearful. So glad you got to see it.

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    1. Patti-- It was a truly unforgettable moment. Now I want to see one everyday. Hah!

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