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Astronomie - Meteorit zerstört Haus in Kalifornien (?)

8.11.2022

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Stundenlang kämpfte die Feuerwehr gegen die Flammen

Foto: @CALFIRENEU/Twitter

Nevada County (Kalifornien) – Die Wahrscheinlichkeit, dass das eigene Haus von einem Meteorit getroffen wird, liegt bei 1:4 Billionen.

Doch genau dies soll jetzt Dustin Procita und seiner Frau Jeanette aus Kalifornien passiert sein. Angeblich schlug der Meteorit am Freitagabend direkt in das Haus der Familie ein. Auch weitere Zeugen bestätigen, dass sie zu dieser Zeit einen Feuerball am Himmel bemerkten.

Familienhund Tug wird von Feuerball getötet

Procita sei zum Zeitpunkt des Aufpralls mit seinen beiden Hunden in seinem Haus gewesen: „Ich habe einen großen Knall gehört“, sagte er.

„Ich fing an, Rauch zu riechen. Ich ging auf meine Veranda und sie stand komplett in Flammen.“

Schnell breitete sich das Feuer auf das gesamte Haus aus. Die Procitas verlieren alles, einschließlich ihres geliebten Familienhundes namens Tug. Trotzdem sind sie froh, noch am Leben zu sein.

Mehrere Menschen in der ganzen Region nahmen den hellen Feuerball mit der Kameraauf, als er gegen 19.30 Uhr den dunklen kalifornischen Himmel erleuchtete.

Procita sagte, er sei sich zunächst nicht sicher gewesen, was passiert sei, aber nachdem er von dem Feuerball gehört habe, der zu genau diesem Zeitpunkt den Nachthimmel erhellte, glaube er, dass es ein Meteor war, der direkt auf seinem Haus gelandet sei. Dem TV-Sender KCRA sagte er:

„Als Kind habe ich oft Meteoritenschauer gesehen, aber ich habe mich definitiv nicht darauf gefreut, dass sie in meinem Garten landen oder durch mein Dach fliegen.“

Beamte der Feuerwehr von Penn Valley und Cal Fire kämpften stundenlang gegen die Flammen. Nun untersuchen sie, was das Feuer in dieser ländlichen Gegend ausgelöste und vermuten, es könnte tatsächlich ein Meteorit gewesen sein. Mittlerweile sind auch die US Air Force und NASA an den Ermittlungen beteiligt.

Vom Haus der Procitas bleibt nichts außer Asche zurück

Vom Haus der Procitas bleibt nichts außer Asche zurück

Foto: @CALFIRENEU/Twitter

Das Gebiet von Nevada County, in dem der Meteor einschlug, ist sehr abgelegen. Neben ein paar kleinen Hügeln gibt es dort nicht viel, die Nachbarn sind weit verstreut.

Quelle: Bild

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California man says meteor destroyed his home after he 'heard a big bang'

NASA said the southern Taurids meteor showers are taking place right now, with the peak happening this weekend

SACRAMENTO, Cal. -- Northern California officials are looking into the possibility that a meteorite destroyed a home in Nevada County Friday night.

The house caught fire after several witnesses described a bright ball of light falling from the sky.

It's quiet in the secluded area of Nevada County where there are rolling hills where cattle graze. Where nothing happens.

"People around here are multigenerational cattle farmers or ranchers," said Dustin Procita, whose home was struck by a meteor.

"Wide open spaces, This was kind of a farm cattle ranch area and not much around it," said Captain Josh Miller, with the Penn Valley Fire Department.

Until Friday night.

"I heard a big bang. I started to smell smoke and I went onto my porch and it was completely engulfed in flames," Procita said.

It appears a bright ball of light, which lit up the dark northern California sky around 7:30 p.m., landed in the middle of nowhere, KCRA reported.

"They said it was a meteor," Procita said when asked what he thought might have hit his house. "I've always watched meteor showers and stuff as a kid, but I definitely didn't look forward to them landing in my yard or through my roof. I did not see what it was, but from everybody I talked to -- was a flaming ball falling from the sky, landed in that general area."

The Penn Valley Fire Department, along with Cal Fire, battled the flames for hours and are now investigating what started the fire in this rural area.

"Meteorite, asteroid -- one of those two," Cpt. Miller said. "I had one individual tell me about it first and like, okay, I'll put that in the back of my mind. But then more people -- two, three or four more started coming in and talking about it."

"Oh wow, looks like a flaming basketball coming out of this sky," Procita described when he watched the video for the first time. "Definitely feel very lucky that it was 30 feet away from me and not five."

As Procita and his wife pick up the pieces of what's left of their home, they know they could have lost much more and realized the odds may be in their favor.

"They say it's a one in four trillion chance, so I guess I might be buying a lottery ticket today," Procita joked.

NASA has one explanation. They said the southern Taurids meteor showers are taking place right now, with the peak happening this weekend. Astronomers said this year's shower will include an increased number of fireballs that shine very bright.

Many people who saw the fireball in Friday night are drawing their own conclusions.

Quelle: abc7News

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What we know about the Northern California meteorite and house fire

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Officials are investigating whether a meteor caused a fire that destroyed a home in Nevada County.

Penn Valley Fire Protection District

Partial walls are all that remain of a rural home on a cattle ranch in Northern California that was destroyed in a fire Friday evening, not long after witnesses say they saw a bright object falling from the sky nearby.

The blaze was reported at 7:25 p.m. near the Mooney Flat area in Nevada County, Clayton Thomas, a captain of the Penn Valley Fire Protection District, told SFGATE Monday. The owner of the home, Dustin Procita, was inside at the time the fire broke out and believes it was caused by a meteorite landing on his roof. 

"I heard a big bang," he told KCRA. "I started to smell smoke. I went onto my porch and it was completely engulfed in flames."

Procita was able to narrowly escape with one of his dogs, but lost another dog and his pet rabbits to the fire. Thomas said the blaze was contained by 8:55 p.m., and no people were injured or killed. What he doesn’t know is how the fire broke out. 

Over a hundred other sightings of the fireball observed near the home were reported to the American Meteor Society from as far south as Gustine, California to as far north as Grants Pass, Oregon. Elinor Gates, a staff astronomer at Lick Observatory on Mount Hamilton, said one of her colleagues was at his home near Pleasant Valley when he happened to catch a glimpse of it, describing it as “the brightest fireball he’d ever seen.” While the fireball was observed on the same night as the Taurids meteor shower, NASA said on Facebook that it was not part of that event. 

Gates and other experts think it’s unlikely that a meteorite would have caused the fire resulting in the destruction of the home.

“What I can say is that it’s an amazing coincidence, time-wise,” Gates told SFGATE. 

She explained that meteors are extraordinarily cold when they come from space (for perspective, the baseline temperature is negative 455 degrees Fahrenheit.) Though they can become heated up by friction in the Earth’s atmosphere, they generally cool off by the time they hit the ground.

“Since the trip through the Earth’s atmosphere lasts only a few seconds, there is no time for the meteor as a whole to heat up, just the very outer layer,” known as the fusion crust, Gates said. “One can assume that the cold interior of the meteorite will act as a heat sink and very quickly cool off the hot surface, as well as the transfer of heat to the air around it.”

While it’s still possible that the meteorite could have crashed into Procita’s home, the heat of the rock itself wouldn’t have caused the fire, Gates said. 

“It would have to be because it hit something flammable, like a propane canister or something that might cause a spark,” she continued. “I won't say it’s impossible, but it’s very unlikely.” 

Karl Antier, a webmaster for the International Meteor Organization, added that the trajectory of the meteorite deduced from witness reports means it would have landed much farther north than Procita’s home near Englebright Lake. 

“Even if a meteorite fell into this man’s house, it would not have caused a fire, as it is just a piece of rock that fell from the sky, no more,” Antier told SFGATE in an email. “Contrary to what is usually thought, a falling meteorite is not hot, but very cold, and it won’t cause a fire itself if it falls on an object. The only reason it could do so is if it fell on something, which, damaged, could trigger a fire.”

Thomas said that a fire of this nature would be considered “exceedingly rare” if a meteorite was, in fact, the cause, but that other factors still need to be ruled out, such as electric problems, issues with gas service or smoking materials found in the building. 

He told SFGATE that he saw a video of the fireball recorded by an individual while they drove along Highway 20 on Friday night. “When they tried to figure out where it landed, they pulled up to the building that was on fire,” he said.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation and determining it could take several weeks, given the destruction of the building. Thomas said officials did not find any objects consistent with a meteorite at the scene. He plans on reaching out to NASA and the U.S. Air Force, which has a base about 10 miles away from where the fire occurred, in hopes of collecting more information.

“It’s a complex situation when you track in the potential for an extraterrestrial rock,” he said. “We just want to make sure that we cover all of our bases.”

Quelle: SFGATE

 

 

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