Spectacular fireball above Romania

A spectacular fireball was detected by the Meteorite Orbits Reconstruction by Optical Imaging network (MOROI) in the morning of 3rd of March, 2021, at 05:58 local time (03:58:39 UT). The bolide flared over Suceava county for 5 seconds, reaching a maximum stellar magnitude of -11 (+/- 1). The meteor brightness matched that of the Moon, which was 85% illuminated at the time.

As seen from the city of Suceava, the object traveled from West towards East, displaying fragmentation features in the second half of the atmospheric path. Four other stations in Romania have detected the bolide. From Bacău and Bârlad, the frames during the maximum brightness were saturated, while data from Baia Mare station (250km away) allowed a proper measurement of luminosity, due to the higher extinction close to the horizon. Investigations for trajectory and orbit reconstruction are underway.

Currently, MOROI network is in the process of integration with the international FRIPON network (Fireball Recovery and InterPlanetary Observation Network). The end goal is to fill the gaps between asteroid and meteorite science, by studying the meteoroid interactions with atmosphere, and computing the location where the surviving fragments might land.

contact: simon.anghel (at) astro.ro

Spectacular fireball above Romania
Solar active region NOAA 12776

Solar Active Region Observed from AIRA

The first active region of the solar cycle 25 was observed on December 20, 2016. The minimum activity period between solar cycle 24 and the current cycle was approximately double compared to other similar periods.
After almost 4 years, solar cycle 25 is picking up pace!
The active region NOAA 12776 became visible on October 15 and passed the western solar limb on October 27. In the right-hand side image this region is observed by the Bucharest Observatory on October 21 when it was situated at 14° southern latitude and 45° western longitude. On October 24, a B2.3 class flare initiated from this region was recorded by GOES.
Between October 27 and November 2 another active region (NOAA 12778) was visible on the Sun and generated several C-class flares.
The solar activity as seen in the sunspot number, the number and intensity of flares, as well as other eruptive phenomena, will constantly increase over the next few years.
Today we can see two active regions on the Sun and the sunspot number is 21.

The unusual tail of comet 246P/NEAT

Berthelot Observatory Survey recently reported the detection of an unusual tail of comet 246P/NEAT. The discovery, submitted to Central Bureau for Astronomical Telegrams, was published as CBET 4799. The CBET is available bellow:

Further to CBET 4793, A. Sonka, M. Birlan, and A. Nedelcu, Berthelot Observatory, Astronomical Institute of the Romanian Academy, report on the unusual shape and tail of comet 246P from CCD observations obtained with a 0.38 m f/8 reflector (39'.8 x 28' field-of-view) at Berthelot Observatory on May 12, 21, and 23. A 60-s unfiltered exposure taken on May 23 shows an obvious 3' fanlike tail in p.a. 292.8 degrees, while 46 stacked images having a total exposure time of 0.8 hr shows a long tail visible at p.a. 296.8 degrees; the tail is at least 28' long and shows a 5'.4-long discontinuity, starting at 3' from the comet's coma (after the discontinuity ends, the tail continues and possibly extends outside the field-of-view. The comet's tail is also visible in images taken on May 12 and 21 at p.a. 296.8 degrees. The discontinuity is 5' long on May 12 and 8' long on May 21. Additional unfiltered CCD total-magnitude and coma-diameter measurements for comet 246P: Mar. 20.27 UT, 15.0, 40" (H. Sato, Tokyo, Japan, 0.25-m astrograph near Mayhill, NM, USA; fan-like tail 1'.5 long toward p.a. 250-290 degrees); May 29.44, 14.6, -- (K. Kadota, Ageo, Japan, 0.25-m reflector). Visual total-magnitude and coma-diameter estimates by P. Camilleri, Katherine, NT, Australia (0.40-m reflector): June 9.47, 13.8, 1'; June 14.45, 14.0, 1'.

contact: sonka (at) astro.ro

The unusual shape and tail of comet 246P. Berthelot Observatory
Conference poster

Asteroids in Isolation online conference

  • On the 20st of April 2020, the Astronomical Institute of the Romanian Academy, took part as a partner in the Citizen-Science IASC Project dedicated to students, a project supported by the International Astronomical Search Collaboration and the Astronomers without Borders organization. The meeting with the students and teachers as well as the presentations were moved online due to the current regulations of state's authorities concerning the ongoing pandemic.

  • The host of the video conference was Daniel Berteșteanu, enthusiastic astronomy promoter and a member of Bucharest Astroclub, who introduced the subject of the conference and the two speakers to the students and adults attending online this event.

  • The theme of the conference "Asteroids in Isolation" was addressed in the presentation given by our first speaker, Dr. Mirel Birlan, AIRA Senior Researcher I, who entered live from Paris, France. Being a Romanian scholar with a great scientific expertise in the field of asteroids research and author of many internationally published studies, Dr. Birlan covered in his presentation various aspects in this field, form general information adapted to the age group and knowledge level of the students, to giving very precise and useful answers to the questions he received form the public. His presentation started with an overview on some of the fundamental research challenges in astronomy such as the correct understanding of perspective in all measurements, from the way we define the celestial sphere, to dealing with distances in the Universe and understating time flow. Starting from some of the basics of any astronomical research, Dr. Birlan further discussed the way we observe asteroids on the night sky, the importance and particularities of their discovery over time and consequent research. As one of the professional astronomers who had effectively used the Prin-Merz telescope of AIRA, the largest refractory telescope in Romania, Dr. Birlan showed some of the techniques employed in the the past in order to identify and take photos of asteroids and the ways this procedure changed in the digital age of today. He also talked about the physical features and structure of different asteroids, like the one called "Romania" and the challenges of their research.

  • The second speaker of the event was Sorin Marin, Document Librarian at the Astronomical Institute of the Romanian Academy. His professional background as a historian and former teacher, was reflected in the theme of his presentation, "Astronomical Institute of the Romanian Academy. Educational areas and science education". Sorin gave an overview to the online audience about the historical endeavor of the scientific and cultural patrimony of Bucharest Astronomical Observatory, from the time of Constantin Bozianu and price Alexander John Cuza, and of the architectural blueprints of Adolphe Engels, up to the museum preservation era of today for some areas. His presentation also underlined the wide range of possibilities offered by the Astronomical Institute of the Romanian Academy to organize interesting non-formal education projects and activities.

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