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09/12/2006 12:55 PM
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Massive sonic boom from meteor
12 September 2006

A massive sonic boom rent the skies above Canterbury today as a meteor sped to its fiery end – but if, and where, it fell remains a mystery.

Scientists said the boom was heard as far afield as Wellington, and sightings of a bright speeding light, then cloud of smoke as the meteor apparently burst into a fireball, were reported all over Christchurch.

One astronomer said it was likely the meteor completely disintegrated when it burst into flames, and debris from the alien visitor was unlikely to be found.

The meteor was detected by instruments used to measure earthquakes at two Canterbury recording sites.

Kevin Graham was working in his garage workshop in Rolleston, 22km southwest of Christchurch, when he heard the boom.

His first thought was it was a September 11 anniversary attack, he said.

"I don't frighten very easily but I was just about shitting myself," he said.

He spoke by phone to his wife in the Christchurch suburb of Addington who had run outside because she thought the Addington Raceway stand was going to collapse.

"I ran outside because I thought my place was going to collapse as well," Mr Graham said.

He said the sound shook the garage and he could feel shock waves in the air.

"It started off with a little boom then a real massive boom. And I mean massive – like the daddy of all booms," he said.

"I was wondering what happened and I thought `oh, September 12', because we're a day ahead of the States.

Emergency services were inundated with calls from the public about the noise.

Christchurch Fire Communications received its first calls from the public started at 2.53pm today, with people reporting windows rattling and the air "shaking".

Police communications fielded over 100 calls in quick time.

Hanmer Springs police officer Senior Constable Chris Hughey likened the meteor to Haley's Comet, which he saw when it last passed near Earth in 1986.

"All it looked like was a vapour trail from a plane coming in at huge altitude," he said.

"It was a crystal clear day here in Hanmer and it appeared to have a red ball or something at the front. Then it split into about three and just disappeared."

Mr Hughey said he did not hear the loud sonic boom.

He had seen a few small meteors "coming in here and there" over the years but nothing like today's one.

"Never coming in on that angle.

"It just disintegrated at great altitude. It was moving, too. I don't know what speed they come in at, but it was going."

Resident superintendent of the University of Canterbury Mt John Observatory Alan Gilmore said the reports seemed to confirm the meteor burst into a "terminal fireball" while travelling over Canterbury, possibly as low as 60km above the ground.

The meteor would have broken through the atmosphere at a rate of between 10 and 20 kilometres per second.

The thicker air closer to earth could have slowed it down to about 40,000kph, and it was this rapid deceleration that would have caused it to break, Mr Gilmore said.

"The stress on the rock is so intense, that it just goes flash and breaks up into a ball of smoke or fire."

A couple of sightings had put the meteor landing in fields but Mr Gilmore said these seemed to have been discounted.

He could only make a "wild guess" at what size the meteor had been, but said he would be very surprised if it had been larger than a basketball.

It was an exciting, if not totally unusual event.

Nine meteorites had been recovered in New Zealand – the most recent being a four billion-year-old 1.3 kg rock which hit the home of Phil and Brenda Archer in Auckland on June 12, 2004.

The rock travelled up to 700 million kilometres from the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter before punching through the couple's roof.

[link to www.stuff.co.nz]

Meteorite van fright


September 08, 2006

A HOLIDAY couple cheated death when a meteorite the size of a cricket ball crashed into their caravan.

Chris Nolan, 45, and wife Julie, 44, had just stepped from the van when the red-hot rock burst through a window at Mablethorpe, Lincs.

Psychiatric nurse Chris, of Huddersfield, West Yorks, said: “We heard this big smash and the meteorite crashed into the caravan. It missed us by a few feet.”

His children Luke, nine, and Charlotte, six, escaped unhurt too.

Around 1,000 meteorites hit Earth each year.
[link to www.thesun.co.uk]

Meteorite fall in Rajasthan village

Special Correspondent

10th incident in the State since 1995

The meteorite which fell at Kanvarpura village near Rawatbhata in Rajasthan recently.

JAIPUR: A meteorite fell at Kanvarpura village near Rawatbhata, where the Rajasthan Atomic Power Plant is situated, on August 29.

It weighs 6.8 kg and is of a rare type as it consists of 90 per cent iron.

"Unspectacular event"

At a press conference here on Monday, the Geological Survey of India (GSI) said the Kanvarpura incident was an "unspectacular event" compared to the meteorite shower in Gujarat recently.

GSI Deputy Director-General (western region) R.S. Goyal said no fireworks were seen as the meteorite fell around 1:37 p.m. "The bright sunlight masked any glow in the sky, and the event would have probably gone unreported but for two shepherds who reported the matter at a police station."

Frightens shepherds

Dr. Goyal said the shepherds got frightened after the meteorite fell with a loud sound. They beat the meteorite with lathis and dragged it some distance, before immersing it in water. GSI scientists, who rushed to the village, recovered the meteorite with the help of the local administration.

He said the meteorite could have caused devastation on an "unimaginable scale" if it had fallen on the Rawatbhata Atomic Power Plant. At least 10 cosmic bodies have fallen in the State, especially in its western parts, since 1995. The previous incident was reported at Bhuka village in Barmer district in June 2005.

[link to www.hindu.com]

Posted on Sat, Sep. 02, 2006email thisprint this
Meteorite is hottest suspect in Carmel roof holes mystery
Associated Press
CARMEL– Firefighters investigating reports of an explosion and smoke at a home found nothing but two tennis ball-sized holes in the roof that a research scientist thinks might have been caused by a meteorite.

When firefighters couldn’t find a cause for the Aug. 12 reports, homeowners Mick and Mary Zakrajsek called Nelson Shaffer, a research scientist with the Indiana Geological Survey in Bloomington and author of a book “Indiana Meteorites – Close Encounters from Outer Space.”

He examined the damage but could not find any obvious particles from outer space.

He plans to go back to the house when portions of the roof are torn out during repairs.

“In the history of humanity, there is a handful of times when meteorites fell and hit a building of any sort,” Shaffer said. “But it does happen.”

Firefighters think it did happen at the two-story home in a northern Indianapolis suburb, mainly because they have no better explanation for the holes in the wall and roof.

“Basically, we were clueless at the time as to what it could have been,” said Carmel Fire Lt. Alan Young, whose crew found no fire and finally began to wonder about the origin of the damage.

“I don’t know what meteorite rubble looks like, so I don’t know what I’d be looking for in the first place,” Young said.

Mick Zakrajsek, 48, a financial manager, heard the explosion while out walking in the neighborhood.

His wife likened the sound to a “huge hammer” that pounded the roof and sent her 21-year-old daughter rushing first upstairs and then back down to evacuate the family.

“People were coming from all over, because everybody had heard it,” said Jessica Zakrajsek.

Shaffer has been unable to distinguish between possible meteorite fragments and roofing particles. He hopes tests on materials to be removed during repairs will be more helpful.

“A number of people reported hearing sonic booms. This implies an object going very fast and not something that just fell off an airplane or was thrown off,” Shaffer said.

[link to www.fortwayne.com]

new zealand again 2 weeks ago.........

National News
Meteor rattles Hawke's Bay

1.00pm Tuesday August 29, 2006

A meteor lit up the Hawke's Bay sky last night and burned up with a boom that rattled windows.

"It was like an earthquake, but without the shaking," said one Akina woman.

Maraekakaho woman Liz Wilson heard "the weirdest noise, like a V8 engine" at about 9.45pm.

"We got in the car, as you do, and had a look around the place ... we so wanted to find a big, burning thing," she said.

An Otane woman said her father saw a "huge, big fireball with a long tail" overhead and heading towards Elsthorpe.

Bruce Hoyt was driving south along the Hawke's Bay Expressway when the sky lit up as if by lightning.

"It came down, heading south, then broke up into six to eight pieces, before fading out. A second or so later, I heard a bang.

"I would say the bang was from the meteor hitting the atmosphere. The sound came later because it travels slower than light."

That summation was right, said Hawke's Bay Astronomical Society president Gary Sparks. "When these things come in, it is explosive decompression. With the heat of re-entry they reach a critical temperature and they explode," he said.

The clear sky last night would have helped the sound travel. His guess was the meteor would have been no larger than a basketball.

August is one of the times of year when meteor showers were more frequent, Mr Sparks said, with the Earth - orbiting the Sun at 100,000km/h - meeting the dust trail of a meteor.

"What people saw last night was probably a rogue meteor, something that was not in the same path as the dust trail," Mr Sparks said.


[link to www.nzherald.co.nz]
Anonymous Coward (OP)
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Wednesday September 13, 2006

Readers report:

Sonic boom in Christchurch

UPDATED 5.25pm Tuesday September 12, 2006

Serving customers in a shop on Blenheim Road in Christchurch, we heard a huge noise and thought at first it was an earthquake as the low hanging lights shook, but stopped, so figured it wasn't an earthquake. The noise seemed to echo through the shop as it is a very high ceiling, and a very big shop. It sounded like something had crashed onto the roof of the building. Shortly after that, a fire engine went past with its siren blaring, but no other emergency services. VERY freaky experience.
- Jane

I saw this meteorite looking south from the top floor of an office building on Molesworth St, Christchurch. Would have been about 2.50pm. It appeared as a bright object streaking through the sky low to the horizon at an angle greater than 45 degrees. Very cool.
- Nick Davis

I live in Rolleston and heard a massive boom, it rattled my windows. I thought a plane had crashed but saw no smoke, it was frightening. After it sounded like a roar that slowly died down.
- Marian Parkin

We were driving from Hawera to Wellington this morning, and around 9.15am (if I remember correctly), we saw a meteor - a red fireball and then a white trail in the sky in front of us (the sky was crystal clear and blue)- the direction was about South East. I commented to my husband that we hadn't heard the sonic boom like we had when the meteor struck a few years ago around Maxwell, so it looks like the folks in Canterbury had that pleasure.
- Wendy

I heard the sonic boom. I was outside at the time. It was a very loud boom & the rumble rolled on for quite a long time after. At first I thought it might be an earthquake, & waited for the earth to start shaking. I looked around the sky to see if I could see anything, but didn't.
- Nicki Pullan

Just on 3pm today, I heard two sonic booms, so close together as to be almost one followed by a rumbling sound like thunder and a sound like the air was being torn. It made my house vibrate and the windows rattle. My window actually flexed with the force of the shock wave. Car and house alarms went off in the neighbourhood of Burnside (west Christchurch). I realised it was a meteorite strike as we have no aircraft in New Zealand capable of supersonic speed and it's illegal to go supersonic over a city anyway.
- Nyree Burt

With regards to the large boom in Christchurch this afternoon. I was sitting at my desk working and the noise started and sounded like an earthquake initially. I looked to see if anything was shaking but it wasn't. The noise sounded like a jet rumbling by way to low with a loud boom. Carried on for about three seconds I would suggest.
- David Hiatt

I work in the Christchurch CBD, and I heard a very, very loud bang this afternoon. It sounded like a plane crash right above our heads. It shook our building, and sounded like something bad had happened. Apparently it was a meteorite that crashed in Ashburton.
- A Harris

I heard the noise while sitting inside on the computer in the Richmond suburb. I first thought that something was sliding on the roof and then there was a loud bang. I went straight outside thinking a tree branch had fallen on the roof. No such luck but there were aircraft flying around. Came inside and thought that I was losing my marbles. Thanks for reporting it as put my mind at ease.
- Craig.

We felt and heard a massive bang or boom come from above and over us, we are located on the hills in the Christchurch Redcliffs area, felt like a bomb.
- Grant

Yep - heard the boom just before 3pm... reports on local radio suggest meteorites seen in Hinds and Culverden areas. Eye witnesses report seeing burning objects in the sky - bright red and with smoke trailing behind - and debris landing in paddocks. The noise brought a large number of people out of their offices as everyone tried to figure out what had crashed nearby, the bang was that big with good rumble & shake afterwards!
- Kris

After the boom, my office windows at Axon were shaking and I saw streaks of light, like something falling from the sky and breaking up. I could see where it landed to the north. somebody must have a giant burning gaping hole somewhere. Somebody must!
- Robyn Dolamore

Just letting you now - I too heard this. Am in Redwood, Christchurch and it "felt" very low and was powerful enough to shake ground, and rattle garage door. Thought at first a big plane had gone down. Sound seemed to come from the West, booming over the city, and then heading East.
- David Mainprize

I live in Diamond Harbour and I was shaken by the VERY loud explosion at about 2.55 pm today 12th Sep 06. My windows rattled and it is possily the loudest bang I have ever heard. I would like to know what it was.
- Alan Phillips

We are located in Sockburn (Christchurch) and felt the building shake and heard the boom - we thought a car had driven into the building it was so strong! This was just before 3pm.
- Andrew

I was sitting at home in my office when I heard this mighty sonic boom which shook the entire house (I reside in Hoon Hay, Christchurch) and rattled the roof, whatever it was almost blew the windows in. My first thought was that a jetliner had crashed nearby but I could not see any smoke however as I looked outside towards North Canterbury this puff of white smoke and trail of light cough my attention, about 2-3 km North of me right above the city at about 10,000 ft of altitude.
- Kelly Perazzolo

A dome object like it was silver grey in colour . It appeared instantly a large boom then it simply disappeared.
- Warren

I was sitting in an office under the Christchurch international airport terminal. I heard a boom immediately followed by a shockwave which shook the airport terminal and seemed to travel from one end of the terminal to the other. The roof of an adjacent hangar was seen shaking as well.
- Michael

Yes, I heard it and felt it! It sounded like a huge explosion - a massive boom of explosive thunder, rattling on for a few seconds - followed by a continuing scream like a jet plane. The house shook and the windows rattled. Not like an earthquake - there was no continuation of the shaking. But the noise continued for several seconds. I actually looked out the window towards the airport expecting to see a billowing cloud of smoke rising from it. (We live very close to the airport in Hyde Park, Avonhead, Christchurch.) It certainly set my heart pounding for a few minutes, especially being so close to the 9-11 anniversary.
- Diane Browning

>> Did you see or hear anything? Email the Herald news desk

• Meteorite most likely cause of boom, observatory say
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09/12/2006 01:12 PM
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Anonymous Coward (OP)
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09/12/2006 01:15 PM
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Public reports on likely meteor
12 September 2006

Readers report what they saw and heard after a sonic boom, likely caused by a meteor, was heard and felt through much of the country.

We live in Queenspark and just before 3pm there was a loud boom followed by what sounded like a big drum rolling across the roof at speed. Rushed outside to look around but saw nothing but the roar continued for a good ten seconds before rolling away over the next ten to fifteen seconds. It honestly sounded like the roof was about to be ripped off and my wife who is 38 weeks pregnant woke up thinking she was having a baby. It was a very frightening and baffling experience
Tim Sutherland

I was outside, looking at the sky admiring the sky as the weather was so beautiful. Then suddenly something caught my eye. it looked like a plane very brightly light , like a huge spark! it was shooting across the sky, from say the airport side towards the town. It only took a couple of seconds then it split into 2 and disappeared. I waited around for a couple of seconds, and nothing happened.. so I decided to go inside. like 30 seconds later, I heard the doors rattling, as though someone was banging against the door trying to get in/break into my house! It was a HUGE rumbling, and then it died off.
Chu May

We heard this explosion at around 2.55pm today, Tuesday 12th. It was incredibly loud and the whole house shook for a few seconds. We live in Huntsbury. We waited for sirens to sound, expecting something such as a silo at Lyttleton had blown up, or that a helicopter which, just seconds before had flown over us, had crashed. When there was no reaction whatsoever we assumed it must have been a controlled blasting of rocks on Huntsbury Hill. It sounded extremely close to us.
Francie Walshe

I live in Westburn Terrace, in Burnside. The explosion sounded like a sonic boom to me. It appeared to come from the south east, & was followed by a rumbling like thunder from the same direction. If it was heard in Hanmer it's likely to have been space junk or a meteor.
Richard Butler

Given the starkness of the 'noise', my son and I timed it @ 2:55 pm pretty well exactly. Windows in houses in Merivale also shook strongly (we have returned home now). All of which suggests a sound, pressure wave rather than say an earthquake. We shall just have to wait and see what, if anything, the radar folk say, as well as the seismologist crowd.
Bryden Black

I heard the explosion at approx 2.55pm. Living in Burnside not far from the airport; my first though was that a plane had crashed. About 10 minutes later my daughter phoned to see if I knew what it was. She works for the DHB and is based at Princess Margaret. Her and her fellow workers heard it as well.
Jane Beaven

We are located in two large buildings on Hazeldean Ave and both buildings occupants heard/felt this noise. As we are opposite the rail tracks we often are subjected to our building 'moving' and initially we all just assumed that this was it - but the event shook both out building to the point where quite a few people ran out on to the road to see what the cause was. I did think it was something on our roof as it did feel like it was overhead us.
Ruth Chapman

I am in Sockburn and our building rocked violently after we heard a massive almost explosion like sound?. Apparently according to the powers that be a meteorite has hit 20kms outside Hinds and has landed in a farmers paddock. Whether this is true or not I do not know?. But I sure do know I got one hell of a shock/fright when our building moved.
Karen Carson

Yep, I heard it. It was most unusual - sounded as if a large boulder fell on my roof (seriously, it was a bloody loud boom) and then continued to reverberate as if something was rolling down the pitch of the roof. Went outside to investigate. The noise was only gradually dying down, so I concluded it can't have been an aircraft breaking the sound barrier because that dies off quickly. This was something else up there. I live in St Albans. The noise was about above the Port Hills I thought but very, very high.
Dave McKinnon

Heard this in Lincoln, just around 3pm. Large boom followed by a rumbling. Apparently some contacts in Dunedin heard it also.
Nigel Joyce

I work in Forsyth Barr House on Colombo St on the 14th floor and was leaning against the window at the time (worst place to be). It rattled the entire building, but rattled our nerves a whole lot more!
Aimee Stewart

The loud explosion occurred at 2.55pm today. I live in Somerfield, close to the Cashmere hills, and the extremely loud bang occurred at the exact same time as the whole house shook, as if something very large had dropped onto the roof, in fact my immediate reaction was to think that something must have been thrown or dropped onto the roof. Whatever it was, it sounded like it was quite close to here. I ran outside, and there was an ongoing rumbling sound, that seemed to be coming from up in the sky, there was no cloud overhead at the time, and I could see nothing in the sky while the rumbling continued. The rumbling gradually died away.
Peter Archer

I am on the 16th level of the Clarendon Tower and around that time I was in an office talking to a colleague when we both heard the noise and felt the rattle although the building we stood still to feel if the building was moving if it was an earthquake but it wasn't. We thought it was the noise that the Building Maintenance Unit makes but the unit was safely tied up on the lower level of the building. We didn't think anything else of it and left it at that until we read your article on the internet.
Cindy Thom

The meteor was seen at approx 2.54pm as a glowing ball with a glowing long tail travelling at great speed from south to north, not that high, and seemed to be going down over or north of CHCH.
Don Young, Ashburton

Our company is in Hornby near Main South Road and the whole building shook.
Paul Durie

Yup sitting on Hereford St working, building shook and heard a roaring noise!
Gary Condon

We are on the fourth floor of a building in Cashel Street, Christchurch and after 3pm we heard a loud 'boom' and felt the whole building shake!
Don Sloan

Yes I heard the explosion at about 2.57pm. It shook our house violently from above and was extremely loud. I ran upstairs looking for any sign of smoke thinking a plane may have crashed nearby. I live in Halswell.
Russ Burke

I was outside in Bromley, Chrishchurch, and heard the noise that sounded like a plane engine so we were looking up expecting to see a plane. Then it sounded like something exploding and I felt some shock waves, like a small earthquake.
Sarah-Jane O'Connor