News Stories

Meteor Count May be on the Rise

The number of large meteors impacting Earth may be on the rise, but nobody's sure. In 2005, the American Meteor Society instituted a reporting system on their website that enabled members of the public to report bright meteors, otherwise classified as fireballs. Since then the number of reports has risen steadily, but so has usage of the website and the ease of making reports on it. However, there was a significant increase in large events between 2011 and 2012, suggesting that more meteors may be impacting Earth. This would be true if the solar system is entering an area of space where there is more debris. The American Meteor Society says that this finding "warrants further study."

A study of small near-earth objects colliding with the planet going back 20 years was reported in the scientific journal Nature in 2002, and executing this study again with Department of Defense bolide (meteor) reports from 2002 to 2012 would provide a clearer picture of whether or not bolide impacts are increasing. On March 14, NASA set up a fireball and bolide page on the Jet Propulsion Laboratory's Near Earth Object website, but so far no past data has been released.

In view of such dramatic events as the Chelyabinsk Meteor that impacted in Russia on February 15, 2013, it would seem that the DoD should once again make public its bolide data so that definitive studies can be done. One thing that does suggest that more meteors are impacting Earth is that there was an average of 7 meteor recoveries per year in the 8 years prior to 2012. In 2012 alone there were 12.





Subscribe to Unknowncountry sign up now