Great Ball of Fire

Quite a few fireball sightings over Texas on Sunday and it made news quickly.

Amazing how quickly these stories put themselves together with today’s technology good old human colaboration. Here’s Phil Plait’s story:

This was a fascinating event, both astronomically and socially. I received an email less than an hour after the event from a reader (who, wonderfully, gave both his exact location and the direction to the fireball) as well as a tweet about it. Within a few minutes I had a post up and tweeted about it myself. I started to receive dozens of tweets over the next hour (I’m not sure how many total, but probably well over 100) with information. After an hour or so the misinformation (FAA officials, satellite debris, etc.) started coming in. Someone posted on iReport their own description, and added a photo of a totally different event as an example, and at least ten tweets referred to it as the actual Texas fireball.

Using various websites that track keywords on Twitter helped enormously. I could look for “Texas” and “fireball” and “satellite”. That was tremendously helpful.

As info came in I updated the blog post, but that was awkward. Tweeting info is fine, but a more permanent and easily-accessible repository was needed. Now, after the fact, I can collate that info and make a more linear post. If someone has a better way to collect, disseminate, and store breaking astronomical news, I’m all ears. Between the blog and Twitter I think this went pretty well, with a minimum of bad information being spread.

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