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I live in Brooklyn, NY and I love it here.  I came here for my career in 2009 and haven't once looked back. 

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Fireball...

So, Friday night as I was leaving work I saw the most amazing thing.  Like I usually do, when I leave work, I decide which train to take based on which street has the walk signal.  9th Avenue, I cross and head to the A train. 15th Street, I cross, then skip over to the plaza between the Apple Store and the corner Diner, cross the plaza and then stroll down the block heading for the L train entrance at 14th and 8th Avenue. 

This particular night, crossing 15th Street seemed like the logical thing to do so I headed down in that direction and, good thing I did because if I had gone any other way home I might have missed this spectacular event.  As I normally do, when walking this path, I glanced up at the sky to take in the buildings towering over the open space of the plaza, the bright billboards advertising clothes I'll never wear, and scan the whole scene, breathing in the city. 

What I saw as I looked around, though, blew my mind and actually kind of scared the shit out of me.  A bright light appeared to streak across the sky, like the most bizarre firework you've ever seen, almost greenish in color.  Only there was no report from the explosion and, after flaring up, it fizzled out as it reached the edge of the patch of sky I could see from my vantage point.  It seemed very close by due to its brightness but the lack of any sound made me think it had to be something astronomical and far off.  During the 10 seconds or so it took to cross the sky and disintegrate (whatever it was), I found myself first ducking, cringing, then looking around for its apparent source. My eyes widened in wonder at what I momentarily thought must have been an meteor skimming the atmosphere and burning up. I'd never seen anything like it but I still wasn't convinced.  I remember stupidly looking at the buildings to the west and trying to see if anyone could have shot off a firework from one of the rooftops.  I doubted that even more once I thought about it a little more. 

I walked on home and almost forgot about it but then I saw this article on Space.com.  I freaked and carried my laptop out to the living room to show Katrina (who seemed nonplussed).  The excitement of actually knowing what I had seen really was a meteor, coursed through my veins. 

So naturally, I've been trying to find more articles and videos on the internet all weekend trying to find out all I can about it.  The meteor itself, they've been saying, was probably only about 3 feet in diameter, but traveling around 10 miles per second it basically hit the atmosphere and glowed white hot for about ten seconds until it completely disintegrated over the Atlantic Ocean.  This link shows the supposed trajectory. 

Shocking and alarming as it is to see, and a wonder to behold, when you know and understand fully what you are seeing, it's a pretty typical thing.  Scientists say somewhere around 100 tons of material strikes the Earth from space every day.  It just happens that this particular event occurred over one of the most populated parts of the US at a time when a lot of people were out and about.  So many times it happens over the ocean, or during daylight hours or in relatively less populated areas.  But even still, I wonder how many people in my general vicinity actually noticed it. So many of us spend a lot of our day looking down or just in our own worlds and not paying attention to our surroundings any more than it takes to walk down the street without running into other people and things. 

And that's really what's most remarkable about this event to me.  Not that it happened, because it does, and often.  But that I was able to see it happen, watch the entire event and then, in an age where everyone can go on the internet and tell about their experiences, verify what I had seen, through other people's accounts.  That's pretty cool.  It's a combination of being in the right place and the right time and actually putting myself out there. Learning about the amazing astronomical events that happen every day right under our noses (see the Transit of Venus last June), and then just generally being aware of my surroundings in a city notorious for the obnoxious amount of external stimuli that abound here, where most people choose to tune out the noise and walk with their heads down. I feel kind of lucky to witness something so beautiful that I may never see again in my life but I also feel like I was being rewarded for my proclivity to wonder.


1 comment:

  1. This says alot about you Tim and your sense of awareness. Very cool that you caught this and I'm sure it's what makes your artistry so unique, that cool gift to see and notice the things others don't and bring the attention to them.

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