Signs 76 – Fireball Pulse Pattern

| May 5, 2023

Signs 76 - Fireball Pulse PatternMarch was a victory for, and we’re happy to report that the end of USGS data capping is now in its second month.

To be on the conservative side, let’s not get bubbly.  Eternal vigilance is called for!

With fireballs, we’re in new territory, and it’s a ride.  February 2023 was a fireball trifecta, and a new gap in the Nemesis Cloud looked iffy; then March left us puzzled.

Upon receiving the April numbers from J.P. Jones, I wondered where this is going.  It appears so was J.P. and here is his summary; frankly, I couldn’t say it better.

I believe we are starting to see the beginning of a new pattern. So far this year, we are experiencing a pulse pattern regarding fireballs or, better, the crest and trough of waves. Earthquakes seem to be reported properly.

On that note, let’s get into the numbers.

April 2023 Fireballs

Fireballs are reported worldwide, and the American Meteor Society, the primary source for North America, for this dataset.

AMS Multistate / Country Fireballs

Multistate/country fireballs cross the borders of multiple states and countries. For this reason, this is a critical category in the dataset because of the distance these fireballs must travel to receive reports from across large geographic areas.

AMS Multistate Fireballs for 1/2019 to 4/2023

April 2023 for this data set a new all-time high for this period.  Relative to previous years, this increase over March is statistically significant.  These are the shallow skimmers, as we call them, that cross vast distances.

AMS Huge Event Fireballs

It’s commonplace for Multistate / Country Fireballs to be reported as huge events because a huge event occurs when 100 or more eyewitness observers report it.

AMS Huge Event Fireballs for 1/2019 to 4/2023

April and March 2023 come in with a tie.   This dataset is the one we watch like hawks, and here is where JP spotted the pulse pattern.  It stands out when you look at January through April for all five years.

AMS Monthly Total Fireballs

The monthly total fireballs are the most critical category in this dataset. We see a close call when we look at the monthly total of fireballs for April 2023.AMS Monthly Fireballs for 1/2019 to 4/2023

April 2023 was the second highest for these five years, losing out to April 2020 by the thinnest of margins.

Yearly AMS Fireball Totals

The inner ring of the Nemesis Cloud is bolting upward through the ecliptic into the Northern skies as Nemesis begins accelerating toward aphelion, its closest point to Sol.  This brings us to the annual totals.

AMS Yearly Fireballs for 1/2011 to 4/2023

We expected the numbers for April would put the second quarter of 2023 on par or above 2012, and it panned out.  Remember, fireball reports in the first half of the year are lower and get much higher in the second half.

Earthquakes Since 1997

At the outset of our Signs series, J. P. Jones created a dataset spreadsheet that tracks the total number of earthquakes each month beginning with 1997.

Earthquakes All Magnitudes 1/1997 to 4/2023

The table above includes April 2023 with the data reported by the USGS for the month.  Honestly, folks, I almost fainted dead away.  We are still in five digits territory.

Monthly Earthquakes 1/2019 to 4/2023

The illustration below uses current USGS data and represents earthquakes of all magnitudes.

Earthquakes All Magnitudes 1/2019 to 4/2023

Let’s hope the USGS has taken a lasting turn for the better, and once again, our gratitude to J.P. Jones for running this to ground.

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Category: Signs

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