Skip to comments.Remembering the Great Meteor Procession of 1860
Posted on 07/19/2013 7:46:04 PM PDT by BenLurkin
Year of meteors! Brooding year!
A remarkable astronomical event also occurred over the northeastern United States 153 years ago today on the night of July 20th, known as the Great Meteor Procession of 1860. And with it came a mystery of poetry, art and astronomy that was only recently solved in 2010.
A meteor procession occurs when an incoming meteor breaks up upon reentry into our atmosphere at an oblique angle. The result can be a spectacular display, leaving a brilliant glowing train in its wake. Unlike early morning meteors that are more frequent and run into the Earth head-on as it plows along in its orbit, evening meteors are rarer and have to approach the Earth from behind. In contrast, these often leave slow and stately trains as they move across the evening sky, struggling to keep up with the Earth.
The Great Meteor Procession of 1860 also became the key to unlock a 19th century puzzle as well. In 2010, researchers from Texas University San Marcos linked the event to the writings of one of the greatest American poets of the day.
A lucky break came for researchers via the discovery of a painting by Frederic Church entitled The Meteor of 1860. This painting and several newspaper articles of the day, including an entry in the Harpers Weekly, collaborate a bright meteor procession seen across the northeastern U.S. from New York and Pennsylvania across to Wisconsin.
Such a bright meteor entered the atmosphere at a shallow angle, fragmented, and most likely skipped back out into space. Similar meteor processions have been observed over the years over the English Channel on August 18th, 1783 & across the U.S. Eastern Seaboard and Canada on February 9th, 1913.
(Excerpt) Read more at universetoday.com ...
The best fireball I ever saw was 20 years ago while driving at night in the Middle Of Nowhere, Arizona...it was about as bright as a full moon, and green. Lasted about 10 seconds.
That’s a gorgeous painting. Works on a number of levels beyond pastoral landscape, into impressionism and even as an abstract. Very skilled use of color.
It is peculiar in hindsight, just how many noteworthy world events appear to have been heralded by spectacular sights in the sky. Selective memory, maybe? It’s an old notion. Not a good thing, war, pestilence, famine, death of kings.
I saw one that was a sort of cobalt blue flaring to white then appearing to explode once, that appeared to have fallen straight down from my perspective. Not during a meteor shower, a fluke that I even saw it at all. It was early basketball season, I mentioned it online, nobody else saw it. A lot of joking that it was a harbinger of Carolina’s basketball season, as they’d had a surprising loss to an obscure opponent that night.
And are they pissed!
Thanks fieldmarshaldj for the ping, thanks BenLurkin for the topic, extra to APoD members.
Same exact thing happened to me last year in New Mexico. The whole desert lit up as bright as an atom homb going off...green... leaving a sparkling trail. They said it was seen all the way up in Colorado.
Did that happen the Friday before July 4? I saw one that seems to fit your description that night. It was not fireworks.
Cue the giant defense robots!
I can’t recall... last July 4 (2012) I was not in New Mexico... I seem to recall it was near the time of a near Earth asteroid passing. I wish I had a way to remember when it was, but my mind is cluttered with internet passwords and work-related stuff, and I have no go to person to validate my experiences with.... like I can’t search my email for a letter where I mention the meteor... and a search on here was bust... I guess maybe I posted something about it, I dunno.