Four fireballs were recorded in São José dos Quatro Marcos, Mato Grosso, just this May of 2019. The recordings were made by the cameras of BRAMON stations ISL / MT administered by Izaac Silva Leite, and can be seen in the video below:
01/05/2019 01:25 UT
The first meteor actually occurred in the late hours of April 30 at 21:25 local time (UTC -4). However, since this kind of research always uses universal time, the record was computed for May 1st at 01:25 UT. The fireball, which was registered by the ISL2 / MT station, lasted only 2.07 seconds and reached the -7.2 magnitude. Curiously, it was classified as belonging to theta Virginids radiant, a minor meteor shower that was recently removed from the IAU’s base because these meteors was not found back in larger data sample.
07/05/2019 02:02 UT
Less than a week later, on May 7, a second even brighter fireball was recorded at the same ISL2 / MT station at 02:02 UT (06:02 p.m., local time). This time the fireball reached the magnitude -8.4 and lasted for at least 2.74 seconds, being classified as sporadic, that is, it is not associated to any known meteor shower.
11/05/2019 05:33 UT
On May 11, at 05:33 UT (01:33 local time), another fireball was registered again, this time, by stations ISL1 and ISL4/MT. None of them caught the beginning of the meteor that reached -6.3 magnitude and shone for at least 1.43 seconds.
28/05/2019 05:46 UT
And the last fireball was registered again by the ISL2/MT station at dawn on May 28, at 05:46 (local time 01:46). With an estimated magnitude of -5 and a duration of only 1.06 seconds, its passage left an ionized trail through the atmosphere that can be seen briefly at the end of the video. This ionized trail has an interesting physical feature: it reflects radio signals. This feature allows meteors to be “listened” by radio, through a technique known as “meteor scatter”, which basically consists of listening to the signal from distant carriers reflected in the meteor ionized trails.
It happens that, currently, Izaac operates the only active radio monitoring station in Brazil registered in RMOB (Radio Meteor Observing Bulletin), and that dawn of May 28, its station detected a prolonged signal, consistent with the passage of a great meteor, at exactly the same time as the video record. The recording of the reflected signal lasted about 40 seconds, indicating that the track remained ionized for all that time after the meteor had passed.
Finally, this beautiful meteor was also recorded from space by the meteorological satellite GOES-16 that orbits the Earth at 36.000 km height. The satellite is equipped with a sensor to detect electrical activities in the atmosphere for the study of lightning and other similar phenomena. With this, it also has the ability to detect meteors passing throught atmosphere, which also generate flashes these flashes. The satellite image that dawn show a flash in the same direction in which the meteor was registered and at the same time.
More about Izaac
Izaac Silva Leite holds a degree in Mathematics from the State University of Mato Grosso, postgraduate in Science and Mathematics Education and currently works as Administrative Assistant in São José dos Quatro Marcos. From an observatory built in his house, Izaac develops his work as an amateur astronomer, recording images of planets, nebulae and distant galaxies, as well as the dissemination of Astronomy to the schools of the region. Since 2014, it has also been part of the Brazilian Meteor Observation Network, a collaborative network of amateur and professionals astronomers from all over Brazil, with the goal of recording and studying the meteors through videomonitoring cameras.