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Geminid Fireball 13 December 2008 ( seen 9:47 PM EST while driving East on Old Ivy Road)

According to a 12 December 2008 Telegraph web article by Lucy Cockcroft: "... the Moon orbits the Earth ... on December 12 it will move ... around 28,000 km closer than average ... this will coincide with a full moon, which will make it appear 14 per cent bigger and 30 per cent brighter than most full moons ... the next encounter with a moon this close and full will not be until November 14 2016 ... another astronomical treat that could be seen over the weekend is the annual Geminid meteor shower, one of the year's best displays of shooting stars...".

Around 9:47 PM EST on 13 December 2008 I was driving East on Old Ivy Road toward Wieuca Road in Atlanta

Through my windshield I saw in Gemini, near the radiant of the Geminid meteors, the Full Moon

which appeared larger and brighter than usual as shown in an image a 12 December 2008 USA Today blog post by Michael Winter

Suddenly, at the side of the Bright Full Moon, a Bright Blue Flash appeared, somewhat smaller than the size of the Full Moon but a good bit Brighter and Bluer. As the Bright Blue Flash dissipated, a Meteoric Streak went down, ending about half way to the horizon. I had no time to take a picture, so I went on the internet and got two images from a weblog and an msnbc web page. Then I made a modified composite that roughly represents what I saw:

At that time, Neptune was just setting, with Uranus near to its setting horizon, and with Venus, Jupiter, Mercury, Pluto, and the Sun and Mars, having recently set. The remaining planet, Saturn, had set substantially earlier

The mid-December 2008 Full Moon followed a just-after-New-Moon configuration on 30 November 2008 in which the Moon, Venus, and Jupiter (as in this image from The Australian web site

as seen from Kathmandu) were on one side of the Milky Way Galactic Center (near Pluto)

and the Sun, Mercury, and Mars were on the other side.

On the same Saturday night (13 December 2008), but in New Zealand on the other side of the Earth,

according to a web article of The New Zealand Herald: "... in Auckland last night [13 December 2008] ... a meteorite ... was seen from various parts of the upper North Island streaking across the sky just after 10 o';clock. Several callers claim the light in the sky was very bright, and it was described by some as a blinding flash. Others said it was trailing smoke. One man, Mike, says he saw the object crash with an exploding noise in the Ponsonby area ...".

Not only were the Atlanta and Auckland Bright Fireballs at almost antipodal points of the Earth, but they both occurred around 10 PM local time, or almost antipodal times of the Earth's 24-hour rotation period.

The Atlanta and Auckland Fireballs were not the only Bright Fireballs over the last few months, so it is possible that they were events not directly related to the Geminid meteor shower. According to a 6 December 2008 web article by Ian O'Neill: "... Last night [5 December 2008] ...[a].. meteor ... outshone the Moon by 100 times ... the Cloudbait Observatory (5 km north of the town of Guffey, CO) ... managed to capture an all-sky camera video of the early morning explosion ...


... astronomer Chris Peterson describes the event: "In seven years of operation, this is the brightest fireball I've ever recorded. I estimate the terminal explosion at magnitude -18, more than 100 times brighter than a full Moon."...

The Colorado fireball comes shortly after a similar event over [Alberta] Canada on November 20th [2008] ...".

Something that interests me is that in the images I have seen on the web of the Colorado (shown above) and Alberta Fireballs is that the tracks start with a line and end with an explosion,


what I saw in Atlanta started with an explosion and ended with a line leading from the explosion.