April 8, 2020

12.06.11: NASA’s All-Sky Sentinel Online.

One of the Droid-like cameras… (Credit: NASA).

“What was that flash in the sky last night?” 24-7, our planet is getting pelted with tons of debris. In turn, astronomers and science bloggers get pummeled by questions of what they saw flashing through the sky. Now, thanks to a new network of All-Sky Cameras put in place by NASA, we may have that data a mouse click away. Recently, NASA unveiled its All Sky Fireball network, a series of four cameras along the Alabama-Georgia-Tennessee border that give continuous coverage of the sky watching for meteors and potential meteorites. Eventually, NASA’s Meteoroid Environment Office will expand this network to 15 cameras scattered over the U.S. Eastern Seaboard. Already, I can see that the site will be a powerful tool for meteorite sleuths as well as being highly addictive to comb through. True, All-sky cams are not a new concept, and several backyard observers have already constructed their own; but the NASA system will enable researchers to quickly characterize the orbit of a fireball, giving us an idea of its origin and its potential final impact point. Think of how many meteorites are probably lying around unheralded because a dedicated search was never mounted for them. In addition, NASA’s new system may trace the origins of unknown meteor showers, as well as help efforts to model known ones. Schools, planetaria, and other institutions are currently vying to have an all-sky camera on their premises… I can also see use as a potential “sky-scout” for backyard observers to get a real time view of that potential cloud front or clearing rolling in… plus it’ll be fun to see this network and the science from it expand over the coming years!


  1. [...] high overheard by local midnite for mid-northern latitude observers through November. Watch those all-sky cameras for activity as well. Will we witness a “Great Taurid Swarm of 2012?” remember, you won’t see any [...]

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