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Cosmic Humility
Tonight we learned some cosmic humility. As we were outside drinking 'round the bonfire - an October 31 weekend thing we do - we saw a meteorite, seemingly of Earth-ending size, streak across the sky. It was the brightest any of us had ever seen, brighter than the moon, brighter than a camera flash. I could clearly see everyone's faces in the 10pm pitch blackness. It was so bright we thought it was lightning at first, but when we looked up we could see the lingering trail or burnt iridium and the remnants of the meteor passing back into space. I couldn't help thinking we'd narrowly escaped "THE END." Kinda makes you think, how quickly it could all go away, how random events can suddenly loom large, and what some of the things we think are important really mean in the grand scheme of things. We hereby name this meteorite "We Almost Died 12" from the Orion Sector. Cheers to life.
posted by Clint Phipps on Oct 30, 2005 11:46PM

I was there, and saw this amazing meteoric event. I have to ask, did anyone else see our "We Almost Died 12" rock glance off the earth's atmosphere last night, around 10pm? It was crazy, definitely the brightest meteor I've ever seen. We're darn lucky life on our planet didn't end right there!
posted by Cody Phipps on Oct 31, 2005 11:20AM

Check this shit:

On October 30 ,1938, Orson Welles and his Mercury Theatre Company caused a nationwide panic with his broadcast of "War of the Worlds", a realistic radio dramatization of a Martian invasion of Earth. Orson Welles was 23 years old when his Mercury Theater company decided to update H.G. Wells' 19th-century science fiction novel War of the Worlds for national radio.
An announcer broke in to report that "Professor Farrell of the Mount Jenning Observatory" had detected explosions on the planet Mars. Then the dance music came back on, followed by another interruption in which listeners were informed that a large meteor had crashed into a farmer's field in Grovers Mills, New Jersey. Soon, an announcer was at the crash site describing a Martian emerging from a large metallic cylinder.
Perhaps as many as a million radio listeners believed that a real Martian invasion was underway. Panic broke out across the country. In New Jersey, terrified civilians jammed highways seeking to escape the alien marauders. People begged police for gas masks to save them from the toxic gas and asked electric companies to turn off the power so that the Martians wouldn't see their lights.
For the whole article see:

I read today that you can see "dust storms" on mars through a backyard telescope. Hmmm, makes you wonder... why is it that no one's reporting big exploding meteors in the sky any more?

posted by Clint Phipps on Nov 01, 2005 01:48AM

Ok, from the officially freaky coincidence department, a guy I know who lives near Raleigh, NC saw something like this too. Here's his description:

"[On Halloween at 9-10PM] there was a huge meteor streaking across the sky. Never saw anything like it before. It was slightly behind me and was so bright I turned around and saw it. The initial flash was very bright. The trail was huge. Probably about the width of your little finger at arm's length, and stretching maybe 1/8 of the sky before it disappeared. Some amazing color too, greens, blues, whites."

It looks like someone else in Maine reported the fireball you guys saw:

2005 Fireball sighting list


posted by Zach Beane on Nov 01, 2005 11:00AM

Good i am glad that other people have seen it. we were driving home from a vacation and all of the sudden the sky lit up. we weredebating whether somehting had exploded except it was blue. it was definatly a freaky sight
posted by kristin jensen on Nov 01, 2005 08:50PM

I've had a lot of friends ask me if I saw this crazy fireball. I move that we change the name of this post to "the fireball that almost killed us all on Oct. 30, 2005" so that people can find it easier and reply to this post saying that they witnessed the event...
posted by Cody Phipps on Nov 15, 2005 12:29PM

So let's bring this topic back to the table... Its almost been 1 year since this great bright light in the sky. The question on our minds now is this: will it happen again this year? Could there be other objects on this same or a similar celestial orbit? Could there be fragments from that glancing with the atmosphere that will come back again this time? What say you all?
posted by andy thibodeau on Oct 27, 2006 10:21PM

Occasionally there are other cosmic events that also have the effect of instilling a sense of humility, though they may not necessarily have the same macabre whiff of narrowly avoided death. For instance, the moon burning out as it sets in a puddle of its own blood in the wee hours of the morning, as it did last night. A beautiful sight, really, only sad in some undefined way; it was almost as if the sky lamented the loss of its pale companion and those unfortunate but stunning last moments of satiated ruby obesity. It makes me wonder what part we really play in this cosmic minuet of dust particles whirling 'round the inferno... Do we really mean that much, or is this thing called consciousness that is supposedly the jewel atop the pinnacle of all that is alive on our stony garden globe just an illusion of ego?
posted by Clint Phipps on Nov 04, 2006 12:04AM