Fireball caught on camera on October 16th, 2014

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Ben Lewis took this time-lapse on October 16th, 2014 between 4:30AM and 4:50AM CET (CANON 6D 35MM @ f1.4 10″ ISO1600 with a 10″ delay between frames.)

These pictures are very unique: we can cleary see the train left behind the fireball. Fireballs can develop two types of trails behind them: trains and smoke trails. A train is a glowing trail of ionized and excited air molecules left behind after the passage of the meteor. Most trains last only a few seconds, but on rare occasions a train may last up to several minutes. A train of this duration can often be seen to change shape over time as it is blown by upper atmospheric winds. Trains generally occur very high in the meteoric region of the atmosphere, generally greater than 80 km (65 miles) altitude, and are most often associated with fast meteors. Fireball trains are often visible at night, and very rarely by day.

The second type of trail is called a smoke trail, and is more often seen in daylight fireballs than at night. Generally occurring below 80 km of altitude, smoke trails are a non-luminous trail of particulate stripped away during the ablation process. These appear similar to contrails left behind by aircraft, and can have either a light or dark appearance.

Learn more about Fireballs in our Fireball FAQ.

Iowa Fireball - Time Lapse   (CANON 6D 35MM @ f1.4 10" ISO1600 - 10'' frame delay) - Wanderers

Iowa Fireball – Time Lapse (CANON 6D 35MM @ f1.4 10″ ISO1600 – 10” frame delay) – Copyright Ben Lewis

Iowa Fireball - Full Frame Capture

Iowa Fireball – Full Frame Capture – Copyright Ben Lewis


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