Canadian Astronomers Capture Rare Meteor Footage Near Toronto
- Department of Communications and Public Affairs
University of Western Ontario
London, Ontario, Canada
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
Western astronomers capture rare meteor footage in the sky east of Toronto
By Communications Staff
Astronomers from The University of Western Ontario have released footage of
a meteor, which was captured by its highly advanced video surveillance
system, traveling through the evening sky east of Toronto on Monday evening
(December 12, 2011).
Although this bright fireball occurred near the peak of the annual Geminid
meteor shower, it is unrelated to that shower.
At 6:04 p.m., six cameras of Western's Southern Ontario Meteor Network
recorded a slow-moving fireball, estimated to be no bigger than a
basketball, which first entered the atmosphere at a shallow angle of 25
degrees from the horizontal moving at 14 km per second. It first became
visible over Lake Erie then moved toward the north-northeast ending at an
altitude of 31 km just south of the town of Selwyn, Ontario. It is likely to
have dropped small meteorites in a region to the east of Selwyn near the
eastern end of Upper Stony Lake.
The video data suggest an end mass that may total as much as a few
kilograms, likely in the form of many fragments in one gram to hundreds of a
gram size range.
"Finding a meteorite from a fireball captured by video is equivalent to a
planetary sample return mission," says Peter Brown, the Director of
Western's Centre for Planetary & Space Exploration. "We know where the
object comes from in our solar system and can study it in the lab. Only
about a dozen previous meteorite falls have had their orbits measured by
cameras so each new event adds significantly to our understanding of the
small bodies in the solar system. In essence, each new recovered meteorite
is adding to our understanding of the formation and evolution of our own
Researchers at Western and the Royal Ontario Museum are interested in
hearing from anyone who may have found fragments of the freshly fallen
For assistance with possible meteorites, please contact Kimberly Tait at
416-586-5820 or ktait@...
To arrange interviews with Peter Brown, please contact Jeff Renaud at
519-661-2111, ext 85165 or jrenaud9@...
For videos, please visit
For an overview, images and a map, please visit
For a fall map, please visit