Sunday stuff to do – blogging about space rock

It’s Sunday and there’s stuff to do. Exciting stuff like polyfilling and painting, poisoning the front lawn, drinking beer and watching football. Being mindful that any one of those activities could go on late into the night and also aware that there have been strange server error things going on at the far end of my internet and equally odd connection problems at this end, I thought it best to pop a quota photo up just in case I don’t get time or inclination to blog later.

But then came the story of the meteor over Gauteng and suddenly, the quota photo plan was reserved for another day. Big quota photo fans need not be disappointed as all (if not more) of my quota photos come from my flickr photostream, so you can always go on there and fill your boots, pixel-wise, if that’s what floats your metaphorical boat.

But on with that meteor thing. Twitter has been going mad – well, there were a couple of mentions, anyway – with people claiming to have seen it, claiming that a friend had seen it or claiming that they hadn’t seen it but wishing that they had seen it.
But what were people actually seeing? Eyewitness News sets the record straight. Sort of.

Johannesburg and Pretoria residents have come forward, claiming they spotted a meteor in the skies on Saturday night.

People in Gauteng saw the bright light at around 11pm on Saturday night, heading towards the north of Pretoria.
“We saw this big green ball of fire: it kind of came out of the sky, out of the blue,” one resident said.
“There was sudden flash. Like an orange stripe in the sky, followed by a very bright explosion where the sky lit up as if it was daytime,” another explained.

So it was green out of the blue (blue skies at 11pm?!?) and “it kind of came out of the sky”.

Now, even granted that this individual must have been shocked at such a shocking experience, that’s a whole lot of confusion in one single sentence. I defy you to succinctly imagine something “kind of coming from the sky”. Sure, I can imagine something coming from the sky and I can imagine something not coming from the sky. However the concept of something “kind of coming out of the sky” confuses me.
It’s like picking up one of Telkom’s stiff little ADSL hamsters in Bloemfontein and declaring it “kind of dead”.
No, a meteor is an all or nothing thing. And they always come from the sky.

I’m actually discounting the second witness statement completely as he was probably just drunk and passed out before waking up at sunrise. Thus, the sky lighting up “as if it was daytime” was probably due to it being daytime. The orange glow would have been wholly unfamiliar, given the recent weather in Gauteng.

This story is ongoing. There has been no official response as yet, because it’s Sunday and all the Government departments and official bodies in South Africa are closed. Not that I want anyone to invade or anything, but if you’re going to (and who’s to say that you haven’t already?) then Saturday at 11pm would be a great time to do it. That way, you’d basically have about 30 hours grace to settle in and make the Union Buildings your own, unpack some boxes, do a spot of decorating, change the locks etc (bring your own locksmith) before anyone realises what is going on and starts grumbling on Monday morning.

And even then, they’ll probably only moan if it’s raining and they can’t go and lie in the sun on their unexpected day off.

UPDATE: Wow. OK, now I get it.

Footage from the security camera of the Mustek building in Midrand of the meteor shower that took place on 21 Nov 2009. 

8 thoughts on “Sunday stuff to do – blogging about space rock

  1. adam vdh > Oh, I don’t doubt that it happened (although, why didn’t you get a photo?), just the people’s experiences seem a little… “different” or “confused”.

    Po > They’re coming here.

  2. I saw it too. Thought it was lightning then realised it weren’t none of that climatological nonsense when the sky kept getting brighter. I would’ve snapped a photie with my phone but then I would’ve dropped my beer. Sorry.

  3. Andrew > No worries. Prioritising is all important. But that doesn’t excuse Mr van den Houten:

    Beer > Photographing space debris > Driving

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