Signs 77 – May You Live In Interesting Times

| June 9, 2023

Signs 77 - May You Live In Interesting TimesMay fireballs took a fascinating turn, and we’re happy to report that the end of USGS data capping is now in its third month.

As the old saying goes, “May you live in interesting times,” and after months of crazy stuff, Signs is back to interesting–woohoo!

In April, J.P. Jones observed the following:

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.

The May numbers tell us that we are either transiting a thin region of the inner band or pushing forward into another gap.  If so, there could be yet another inner band.  Either way, you’ll find this fireball and earthquake data for May to be of keen interest.

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

May 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 5/2023

Except for February, this dataset has been running back in the pack this year, and May 2023 set a new record of sorts. May is the lowest month for this period since 2019.

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 5/2023

May came in with a tie with April, and in Australia, there was a fantastic huge event.

newshub.co.nz SPACE, 21/05/2023
Stunning meteor lights up Australia’s skies

Queensland, Australia, May 21, 2023

Locals report a fire-ball-like object in the sky that got bigger and bigger followed by the earth-shattering sound of a sonic boom.

If you follow the link to the site, you can watch the full video.  This is clearly a huge event and is arguably a bolide.  While the other datasets are low, the fact remains we’ve still got plenty of big ones out there.

AMS Monthly Total Fireballs

The monthly total fireballs are the most critical category in this dataset and May 2023 is lame.

AMS Monthly Fireballs for 1/2019 to 5/2023

Again, another statistically significant drop.

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 5/2023

We expected the numbers for May would put the second quarter of 2023 on par or above 2013, which turned out to be a statistical nothing burger.   Nonetheless, 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 5/2023

The table above includes May 2023 with the data reported by the USGS for the month.  OMG, we are still in five digits territory.

Monthly Earthquakes 1/2019 to 5/2023

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

Earthquakes All Magnitudes 1/2019 to 5/2023

The reporting appears natural for the last three months, and May topped 2019 and 2021.  This is getting interesting again.  Let’s hope it stays that way.

 

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