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Latest Bill Cooke Stories

Magic Hour For The Geminid Meteor Shower
2013-12-13 10:41:16

NASA Science As arctic air and record cold sweeps across the USA, amateur astronomers are looking at their calendars with a degree of trepidation. A date is circled: Dec. 14th. And below it says: "Wake up at 4 AM for the Geminid meteor shower." "It's going to be cold," says Bill Cooke of NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office. "But that is the best time to see the 2013 Geminid meteor shower." Geminids appear every year in mid-December when Earth passed through a stream of debris from...

Fireball Over Tennessee And Georgia
2013-09-06 12:00:45

[ Watch The Video: Bright Meteor Captured Over Georgia/Tennessee ] Brett Smith for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online Typically, there isn’t much to see in the predawn hours of a Wednesday morning in the Southeast US. However, on August 28, those who happened to be awake and outside at 3:27 a.m. in northern Georgia and Tennessee were treated to the spectacle of a short-lived yet massive fireball that out-shown the moon. “Recorded by all six NASA cameras in the Southeast, this...

Perseids Identified By NASA As Most Active Annual Meteor Shower
2013-07-29 10:14:59

[ Watch the Video: ScienceCasts: Perseid Fireballs ] Brett Smith for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online Meteor showers are some of the most exciting and unpredictable displays of nature and a team of NASA astronomers have just identified one shower as the most active of any annual display. "We have found that one meteor shower produces more fireballs than any other," said Bill Cooke of NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office (MEO). "It's the Perseid meteor shower, which peaks on August...

Astronomers Catch Bright Explosion On The Moon
2013-05-17 13:55:31

[ Watch the Video: Bright Explosion on the Moon ] Lawrence LeBlond for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online If you take a good look at the Moon it isn´t too difficult to paint a pretty clear picture of the lunar surface´s violent past. Our neighboring natural satellite is pock-marked with thousands upon thousands of craters from meteors and asteroids that have been pelting its surface for more than a billion years. Over the past eight years, NASA astronomers have been...

Everything You Need To Know About This Weekend’s Orionid Meteor Shower
2012-10-18 16:39:30

[WATCH VIDEO: A Meteor Shower From Halley's Comet] Lawrence LeBlond for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online Throughout the year Earth´s denizens are offered a number of good opportunities to witness meteor showers illuminating the night skies, with streaks of white lights racing across the upper atmosphere at lightning speed. Some of these seemingly heavenly showers, such as the late-April Lyrids, the Perseids of mid-August, and the often-spectacular Leonids, which arrive in...

The 3D Lyrid Meteor Shower
2012-04-21 06:00:01

[ Watch the Video ] This weekend, NASA scientists, amateur astronomers, and an astronaut on board the International Space Station will attempt the first-ever 3D photography of meteors from Earth and space. "The annual Lyrid meteor shower peaks on April 21-22," says Bill Cooke, the head of NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office. "We´re going to try to photograph some of these 'shooting stars' simultaneously from ground stations, from a research balloon in the stratosphere, and from the...

The Fireballs Of February
2012-02-23 04:23:03

Feb. 22, 2012:  In the middle of the night on February 13th, something disturbed the animal population of rural Portal, Georgia. Cows started mooing anxiously and local dogs howled at the sky. The cause of the commotion was a rock from space. "At 1:43 AM Eastern, I witnessed an amazing fireball," reports Portal resident Henry Strickland. "It was very large and lit up half the sky as it fragmented. The event set dogs barking and upset cattle, which began to make excited sounds. I...

New App Helps NASA Keep Track of Meteoroids
2011-12-14 13:10:39

[ Watch the Video ] Surprising but true: Every day, on average, more than 40 tons of meteoroids strike our planet.  Most are tiny specks of comet dust that disintegrate harmlessly high up in Earth's atmosphere, producing a slow drizzle of meteors in the night sky.  Bigger chunks of asteroid and comet debris yield dozens of nightly fireballs around the globe. Some are large enough to pepper the ground with actual meteorites. With so much "stuff" zeroing in on our planet, NASA...

Image 1 - Geminid Meteor Shower Peaks Tonight
2011-12-13 09:18:14

[ Watch the Video ] The 2011 Geminid meteor shower peaks on the night of Dec. 13-14, and despite the glare of a nearly-full Moon, it might be a good show. "Observers with clear skies could see as many as 40 Geminids per hour," predicts Bill Cooke of the NASA Meteoroid Environment Office.  "Our all-sky network of meteor cameras has captured several early Geminid fireballs.  They were so bright, we could see them despite the moonlight." The best time to look is between 10 pm...

Image 1 - Weekend Meteor Shower
2011-10-21 04:19:58

Earth is about to pass through a stream of debris from Halley's comet, source of the annual Orionid meteor shower.  Forecasters expect more than 15 meteors per hour to fly across the sky on Saturday morning, Oct. 22nd, when the shower peaks. "Although this isn't the biggest meteor shower of the year, it's definitely worth waking up for," says Bill Cooke of the NASA Meteoroid Environment Office. "The setting is dynamite." Orionids are framed by some of the brightest and most...