WGN, the Journal of the JMO 18:3 (1990)

Crimean Fireball in 1986

V. V. Martynenko, V. Mozhzherin

Ail account is given of a fireball seen in the Crimea (USSR) oil March 12, 1986, at 17h53m UT.

photo: I. Salnikov

Fragment of the fireball accidentally photographed in a 100 mm refractor while observing M42.

Visual observation of the fireball.

On March 12, 1986, a fireball was seen at 17h53m 0h03m UT from many places in the Crimea (USSR). A flare was very strong. It was as if all search lights in the stadium were switched on, said V. Abramenko from the Crimean Astrophysical Observatory, in the settlement Nauchny. Many witnesses of this phenomenon in Simferopol compared its brightness to that of the Full Moon, and obtained values ranging from -10 to -12 (D. Kalaida, I. Kruzman, M. Groznov, Yu. Matyushkin et al.). D. Poklad noted that at the moment of the flare, only stars of magnitudes 1 and 2 were seen.

The fireball trail from Simferopol started about 2 from a Aurigae and ended just South of Orion. The total length was about 30. It looked like Bengal fire with sparks. During the disintegration, three or four fragments, comparable in brightness to Sirius, as well as several slightly fainter fragments were seen. A few people thought the fireball was a rocket with two explosions. After an explosion near k Orionis, two bright red fragments continued their path for about 4.

A tail and a train were observed. The train was bluish and resembled an inversional train from an aircraft. The train drifted and lasted for about 3 minutes. The color of the fireball itself changed from green-blue before the explosion to red afterwards. It lasted for about 1.5 s.

At that time, Igor Salnikov began an exposure of M42 in Orion through a 100 mm refractor of the Crimean Youth Astronomical Observatory. The shot contained a part of the fireball at the time of the second explosion.

Mail to: astro@cris.crimea.ua