2017-9-4 : Kelowna Meteor – by Rick Nowell

SEE ALL LATEST DISCUSSIONS ON OUR FORUM : http://bcmeteors.net/?page_id=657&view=forum&id=8

The Cranbrook College of the Rockies meteor camera tracked last night’s fireball high over Nelson and Kootenay Lake.

Allsky video

It lasted for about ten seconds, from 05:11:26 until 05:11:37 UT.  For a brightness comparison, note the full Moon in the lower left part of the video is totally out shone by the fireball when it flares.  There is no sign of the fireball breaking up and exploding.

This video movie m20170905_051126_000.mp4, is taken with a fisheye lens that sees all the sky.  North is directly up, East to the left, West to the right, and South below.

There is also video there (MeteorCranbrook_20170904_221017.mov) from my dash cam showing the fireball flash as seen from Cranbrook,BC. (showing only the flash, which is not as spectacular, lighting up the smoke haze).

Attached find a google map of the Kaslo, Meadow Creek, BC area.


The American Meteor Society estimates it terminated over Meadow Creek, BC.  (Meadow Creek is 30km North of Kaslo along Kootenay Lake, or about 70km North of Nelson)

More than 90 fireball reports from 6 states (CA and USA)
The AMS has received over 90 reports so far about of a fireball event seen above the state of British Columbia (Canada) on September 4th, 2017 around 10:14pm PDT (September 5th, 2017 ~ 05:14 Universal Time). The fireball was seen primarily from British Columbia but was also seen from Alberta and Saskatchewan as well as from Washington, Idaho and Montana. According to our latest estimated trajectory, the fireball traveled in a southeast to northwest direction entering the atmosphere near the small city of Boswell and terminating near Meadow Creek, British Columbia.

Excerpt from https://www.amsmeteors.org/2017/09/british-columbia-fireball-september-4th-2017/



The American Meteor Society site has reports from Bowen Island BC, Spokane Washington, Calgary Alberta, Claresholm, Alberta,  Vanscoy Saskatchewan, Post Falls Idaho, Creston BC, Nelson BC, Troy Montana etc.



I caught the fireball flash on my dash cam in Cranbrook at 11:11pm MDT.  Here’s a couple of frames taken from Cranbrook by King Street, looking West, before and after.  You can see the “CRANBROOK” sign lit up by the flash on the left.  I didn’t hear any thunder in Cranbrook.  Looks like it fell around Creston or Nelson.  People report hearing a sonic boom in Creston, and it rattled the windows in Nelson and Riondel.


(Note my dashcam clock is on Pacific time, says 22:10; which is 23:11 MDT, since it’s a minute slow).  So UT that would be Sep 5 at 05:11.



Susan from Riondel, BC mentioned “There was a tremendous flash, an bright orange and yellow ball, then about 30 seconds later a continuous loud rumbling noise.  The sound lasted a long time, and the ground shook.”  For a second she thought it might be the North Koreans sending an atomic bomb, it was that loud.


Rick Nowell

Astronomy Lab Tech

College of the Rockies

2700 College Way

Cranbrook, BC

V1C 5L7

2017-9-4 : Bright flash due east of Kelowna BC

Latest News

Jeff Swayze

At approximately 10:15 PM pacific time I witnessed a bright flash due east of kelowna BC. I assume it was dry lightning, so I posted on facebook if anyone in my area had witnessed the flash. A local friend reported a similar post from one of their friends in Nelson BC at the same moment. I then assumed it could only be a meteor impact with the ionosphere for such a bright flash to occur and not repeat as with dry lightning. I assume more reports will follow.

Jeff Swayze
Kelowna BC


Hi just found your website after seeing the whole sky light up south to north over Nelson BC and then 3 min later heard a huge explosion and felt my house rumble!!! It is a smokey but clear night. Wondering if you have any info about this? Craziest thing I’ve seen and felt!!! Cheers, let me know.



Kevin Skrepnek @KevinSkrepnek

Well, that was different: while sitting on a patio in #NelsonBC the entire sky lit up and a meteorite came down. Huge boom about 1m later.

  7 hours ago

I saw a bright green fireball over Bowden area near Red Deer AB.

  6 hours ago

Replying to 

I seen the meteorite in Calgary at 11:20 p.m. last night. It happened so fast that I could not get a picture of it.

2017-9-1: Asteroid 3122 Florence

Sky and Telescope has prepared four detailed charts to help observers locate 3122 Florence this week. Two of these show the asteroid’s general motion northward among the constellations. Two more show small areas of sky, plotting all stars brighter than magnitude 9.5, for North American observers on the evenings of August 29-31 and September 1-3. Note that the detailed charts are labeled for Universal Time (GMT), and you’ll have to apply a time-zone correction for your location (for example, 0h UT on August 31st corresponds to 8 pm EDT on August 30th).

During its visit, Florence will be traveling roughly south to north, crossing through the constellations Capricornus, Aquarius, Delphinus, Vulpecula, and Cygnus. An especially good opportunity occurs at about 8 pm Eastern Daylight Time on Saturday evening, September 2nd, when the asteroid crosses the quartet of 4th-magnitude stars that mark the head of Delphinus, the Dolphin. It will be gliding northward by a little less than the full Moon’s diameter each hour, motion that should be obvious by watching the asteroid’s starlike pinpoint through a telescope for just a few minutes.

Florence appears this bright, despite being far away, both because it’s among the largest near-Earth asteroids (2.7 miles across) and it has a fairly bright surface that reflects more than 20% of the sunlight that strikes it. (For comparison, the Moon’s average reflectivity is just 12%.) Although it rotates in just 2.4 hours, this asteroid must be nearly spherical because its brightness varies by no more than about 11% – too small a change to pick up by eye.

2017-8-21: Solar eclipse of Monday, Aug 21, 2017

SOLAR ECLIPSE TIME max lasting for about 2min over Vancouver, to 2min 17sec as you go to Eastern BC.

Here are times for cities across BC and Alberta. There are four numbers: the local times for the start, maximum and end, and the maximum fraction of the solar diameter covered: Victoria (09:08, 10:20, 11:37, 91%), Vancouver (09:10, 10:21, 11:37, 88%), Penticton (09:13, 10:25, 11:42, 87%), Cranbrook (10:16, 11:30, 12:48, 85%), Calgary (10:20, 11:33, 12:50, 81%), Edmonton (10:24, 11:35, 12:49, 75%).

Source: https://www.timeanddate.com/eclipse/in/canada

TELESCOPE: if you setup a telescope (with a solar filter and video camera) the Sun should be seen safely on a video display.  We may see sunspots at the centre of the disc, even though the Sun is nearing sunspot minimum.

SPEED OF THE MOON’S SHADOW:  If it’s hazy with forest fire smoke, try going 7000 feet up a mountain to get clearer views.  From a mountain top, I wonder if I’ll be able to see the shadow of the Moon sweeping in from the West?  Over Eastern BC, It’s approaching at around 3,000 km/h; or 0.833 km/s.  That’s 2.5x the speed of sound, so a military jet could keep up with it, but a car can’t.  The totality shadow will be about 109km wide, and take just over 2 minutes to pass.  Source: https://www.space.com/36388-total-solar-eclipse-2017-duration.html

PATH OF TOTALITY: The Map of totality below shows you’ll have to go 500 km South of the US border to Salem, Oregon or to Idaho Falls in Idaho to get the full effect.

Map by Xavier Jubier.  http:\\xjubier.free.fr/en/site_pages/SolarEclipsesGoogleMaps

ECLIPSE GLASSES:  So, where to get adequate eyewear, sunglasses won’t do!  You can send away for cardboard eclipse glasses (mine haven’t arrived yet), but be sure they are very dark, like shade 14.  Try getting some welders replacement lenses; again, shade 14 is safest.   They are rectangular glass plates, about 4” x3” x2”.  They should be available locally at Air Liquide, or Acklands, or other welders supply place (unless they are already all sold out).
EYESIGHT WARNING: When you look at the Sun, the lens in your eyeball acts as a burning glass, and the target is the back of your eye, where imaging happens. You can also damage the protein jelly, or “aqueous humour” that fills your eyeball. The damage can be permanent. Staring at the Sun using a telesc​ope or binoculars that have not been modified for solar observing could likewise lead to permanent damage. A pair of 10×50 binoculars (10 times magnification, 50mm objective lenses), will collect between 50 and 100 times the amount of light and heat that your eye lens will collect. Permanent damage will be near instantaneous. There is specialist hardware that can be used with telescopes and binoculars that make them usable for safe solar observing. However, unless you are completely familiar with these devices and how to use them… DON’T. If you are not an expert then go find one.”  Quote from Ken Tapping, astronomer at Penticton, BC.

SOLAR PROJECTION: (adults only please) using a spotting scope or binoculars (or a magnifying glass).  Set it up on a tripod, and focus the telescope at infinity (a mountain first).  Then hold a white square of cardboard about a foot away from the eyepiece, or against a white wall (some telescopes come with a little arm and clip for this purpose).  The cardboard should be in a shadowed area.  Be careful not to look through the eyepiece of the scope (or the finderscope!)–just look at the shadow of the scope on the ground to point it at the Sun.  Centre the image of the Sun on the white card.  Move the cardboard close for a smaller/brighter image; and further away for a bigger/dimmer image. That way you get enough magnification to see sunspots too. (Galileo pioneered this projection technique back in 1612.  He didn’t go blind until he was 72, and that was from cataracts.)

FIRE AND BLINDING DANGER: Don’t hold the cardboard too close or you’ll burn a hole through it.  Don’t try to look through the eyepiece,  or you’ll burn a hole in your eye’s retina.  Don’t goof-up or you’re permanently blind.  Watch out for kids around you.  Don’t leave unattended.  Don’t burn your finger or start a fire!  (That said, I did this in grade 11 astronomy class and nobody had any trouble.)

2017-8-14 : Asteroid to shave past Earth on Oct 12: ESA By Mariette Le Roux Paris

A house-sized asteroid will shave past our planet on October 12, far inside the Moon’s orbit but without posing any threat, astronomers said Thursday.  The space rock will zoom by harmlessly at a distance of about 44,000 kilometres (27,300 miles) — an eighth of the distance from the Earth to the Moon, according to the European Space Agency. This is just far enough to miss our geostationary satellites orbiting at about 36,000 kilometres.

“We know for sure that there is no possibility for this object to hit the Earth,” Detlef Koschny of ESA’s “Near Earth Objects” research team told AFP. There is no danger whatsoever.”

The asteroid, dubbed 2012 TC4, first flitted past our planet in October 2012 — at about double the distance — before disappearing from view.  It is about 15-30 metres (49-98 feet) long, and was travelling at a speed of some 14 kilometres (nine miles) per second when spotted.  Scientists expected the asteroid to return for a near-Earth rendezvous this year, but did not know how close it would get.  Now, the Very Large Telescope of the European Southern Observatory (ESO) in Chile has managed to track the rock down, some 56 million kilometres away, and determine its trajectory.

“It’s damn close,” said Rolf Densing, who heads the European Space Operations Centre in Darmstadt, Germany. “The farthest satellites are 36,000 kilometres out, so this is indeed a close miss,” he told AFP.

For researchers, the near miss will provide a rare chance to test Earth’s “planetary defence” systems — which at this point are focused on early warning rather than active asteroid deflection.

Observing TC4’s movements “is an excellent opportunity to test the international ability to detect and track near-Earth objects and assess our ability to respond together to a real asteroid threat,” said an ESA statement.  Asteroids are rocky bodies left over from the formation of our solar system some 4.5 billion years ago.  There are thought to be millions of them, most of them in a “belt” between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter.

A space rock slightly bigger than TC4, at 40 metres, caused the largest Earth impact in recent history when it exploded over Tunguska, Siberia, in 1908.

In 2013, a meteoroid of about 20 metres exploded in the atmosphere over the city of Chelyabinsk in central Russia with the kinetic energy of about 30 Hiroshima atom bombs.

The resulting shockwave blew out the windows of nearly 5,000 buildings and injured more than 1,200 people. It caught everyone unawares.

If an object the size of TC4 were to enter Earth’s atmosphere, “it would have a similar effect to the Chelyabinsk event,” said the ESA.

But Earth’s atmosphere stretches only a few hundred kilometres far, and TC4 will comfortably miss it. Also, it would likely behave very differently to the Chelyabinsk object.

“The Chelyabinsk meteoroid was a piece of comet and they are usually made of icy material,” said Densing. “Due to the icy nature it probably dissipated in the atmosphere… When we’re talking about asteroids, this is solid material. They are mostly made up of iron, so will not so easily dissipate their energy in the atmosphere.”

TC4 is unlikely to shed any debris into the atmosphere.

Even if it did, no evacuation would be required for an object this size, said Koschny, merely a warning for people to stay away from windows that could shatter from the shockwave.

Densing, who has previously warned that humanity is not ready to defend itself against an Earth-bound object, said he would not lose any sleep, not over this one.  “However, it makes you wonder what will happen next time,” he said.  “I would have felt a bit more comfortable if we… had a longer pre-warning time.”



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Welcome to the British Columbia Meteor Network

The British Columbia Meteor Network and its associate members are dedicated volunteers who have worked together to advance knowledge of meteor science. Some of our members are professionals although most are devoted amateurs.

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2017-8-7 : Meteor Echoes Live Stream: livemeteors.com

When a meteor enters the Earth’s upper atmosphere it excites the air molecules, producing a streak of light and leaving a trail of ionization (an elongated paraboloid) behind it tens of kilometers long. This ionized trail may persist for less than 1 second up to several minutes, occasionally. Occurring at heights of about 85 to 105 km (50-65 miles), this trail is capable of reflecting radio waves from transmitters located on the ground, similar to light reflecting from a mirrored surface. Meteor radio wave reflections are also called meteor echoes, or pings.