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Home Fireballs Desert Fireball Network Meteorite orbits Meteorites of California
Mission statement - GFO, the Global Fireball Observatory, is a global network of all-sky cameras to help recover meteorites with measured entry orbits.

eye Report fireball sightings here.

Camera Sites:
03 + Lick Observatory
(Kostas Chloros)
04 + Mnt. Umunhum
(Lance Ginner)
05 + El Cajon
(Bob Lunsford)
09 + Tehachapi
(Sean Spratt)
19 - Auburn
(Jon Richards)
20 - Beverly Hills
(Jason Utas)
21 + Sunnyvale
(Jim Albers)
22 + Rancho Mirage Obs.
(Eric McLaughlin)
24 - Carson City
(Tom Herring)
25 - Hawthorne
(Cheri Clendenning and Sky Lockwood)
30 + ATA
(Jon Richards)
31 + Chico
(Jim Collins)
N38 - Apple Valley
(Ryan Dorcey)
N39 + Fresno State
(Fred Ringwald)

Meteorite falls:
White Mountains (2016-06-02)
Creston fall (2015-10-24)
Chelyabinsk fall (2013-02-15)
Novato fall (2012-10-17)
Sutter's Mill fall (2012-04-22)

Report possible meteorite finds in the GFO network:


Dr. Peter Jenniskens,
SETI Institute,
GFO USA-W Coordinator
[Career pages]

Jim Albers,
GFO USA-W Operations


DFN Wiki

The SETI Institute collaborates in this effort with NASA SERVII Australia partner Curtin University.

Phil Bland,
GFO PI, Curtin University

Brian Day,

Nick Moskovitz,
GFO LO-CAMS coordination

Related efforts:

Peter S. Gural,
Tracking camera

Robert Citron,
Meteorite hunting drones

News blog:


2019, September 6 - The S. F. Bay Area had a nice spectacle early this morning following the test launch of a Trident II D5 missile from the USS Nebraska in front of the California coast. Two launches were captured by our cameras on September 6 (picture above) and one on September 4. The early morning launch on September 6 was the more impressive, with the rising sun illuminating a gas cloud. [Navy press release]


2019, August 14 - A number of Perseids were detected during this year's shower. The brightest, shown above, was captured by stations El Cajon (Bob Lunsford) and Rancho Mirage (Eric McLaughlin) at 08:54:26 UTC on August 14.

Lick Observatory

2019, July 14 - A bright meteor was captured by stations Lick Observatory (Kostas Chloros), shown above, Mnt. Umunhum (Lance Ginner), and Sunnyvale (Jim Albers) in the Bay Area and by the ATA Station (Jon Richards). The meteor appeared near the edge of the camera range. Meteorites may have fallen near Walker Lake in Nevada. The fall area is in searchable terrain, but somewhat more uncertain than normal due to the large distance from stations to meteor.


2019, July 01 - A bright meteor captured shortly after 08:14:29 UTC today may have dropped a 100-500g meteorite in northern California. The meteor was captured by Jim Collins in Chico, shown above, and by Jon Richards at the ATA. Sadly, the fall area is in a densely forrested region.

2019, June 27 - Two more cameras have arrived at the SETI Institute. They were previously deployed in the U.K. They will be serviced and tested in the coming month. Update: The cameras will be hosted by Cheri Clendenning (Hawthorne) and Thomas Herring (Carson City).


2019, June 24 - An outburst of June epsilon Ophiuchids (shower 459, JEO) was detected by the CAMS camera network on June 19-26. A CBET was issued that identified the parent body as Jupiter Family comet 300/P Catalina. See for example the map on June 24, showing significant activity just right of the antihelion source. The shower may have contributed to a flurry of in bright meteors detected in our allsky network. Above shows the first meteor detected at Rancho Mirage Observatory (Eric McLaughlin) post the new placement of the camera. The meteor appeared on June 24 shortly after 05:21:26 UTC.

new setup

2019, June 21 - Eric McLaughlin reports that the camera at Rancho Mirage Observatory has now been placed from the observing deck floor to its permanent location high on a support. Obstruction has significantly reduced.


2019, June 11 - A half our later, a bright meteor was captured at 08:53:59 UTC in our allsky network by cameras 03 (Lick Observatory), 04 (Mnt. Umunhum), 21 (Sunnyvale) and 30 (ATA).

2019, June 11 - Nick Moskovitz reports that a bright meteor was captured in the LO-CAMS network at 08:23:31 UTC. Peter Jenniskens calculated that the meteor moved with an apparent speed of only 15.5 km/s, from RA = 235.7, Dec = -0.8 degrees, from location 34.6353N, 110.6857W at 98.0 km to 34.8892N, 110.2579W at 58.3 km (not the end point). A disruption occurred at lower altitude. Meteorites may have fallen.

2019, June 10 - Bob Lunsford captured a bright meteor near the horizon at 095958 UTC.


2019, June 03 - Lick Observatory, Mnt. Umunhum and Fresno captured this meteor low on the horizon.

Apple Valley

2019, May 31 - Station Apple Valley (Ryan Dorcey) scored again with a bright meteor at 07:04:28 UTC. The meteor was also captured by Tehachapi (Sean Spratt).

Apple Valley

2019, May 21 - Station Apple Valley at the Lewis Center for Educational Research (Ryan Dorcey) captured its first bright meteor (top image). And it is a beaut! Sadly, other nearby stations were clouded.


2019, May 15 - Station Tehachapi (Sean Spratt) captured a beautiful meteor in the 30s after 04:21:29 UTC tonight (see picture above, click to see wide angle view). Apple Valley, Rancho Mirage and Fresno were clouded out.


2019, May 12 - Station 19 Auburn (Jon Richards) has come online. There are now eleven working cameras in the network. The station captured this satellite flare on the first night.


2019, May 11 - A nice bright meteor was captured by Lick Observatory (Kostas) and Mnt Umunhum (Lance) in the constellation of Scorpio shortly after 10:14:59 UT tonight. The picture above shows a composition of the meteor as seen from Mnt Umunhum (station 04) and Lick Observatory (station 03).


2019, May 08 - ATA (Jon Richards) picked up a meteor tonight just after 09:51:58 UT. It was also (just) detected by Chico (Jim Collins), where the meteor was low in the sky.


2019, May 03 - First bolide of May. Jim Albers reports that a nice meteor was captured by the Fresno station (Fred) in the 30s after 06:02:29 UTC tonight, and also seen low near the horizon from Tehachapi (Sean), Mnt Umunhum (Lance) and the ATA (Jon). Two visual observers reported the meteor as AMS Event 2006-2019.


2019, April 29 - Eric Egland, operator of CAMS Fremont Peak Observatory, reported: "Ryan and I saw a yellow-orange fireball light and re-light almost directly overhead near San Juan Bautista, traveling WNW over the area Sunday night between 1 and 2 am." Searching among the GFO data showed Chico captured a bright meteor behind a tree in the 30s after 07:57:27 UTC. Sadly, both Lick and MntUmuhum had a jump in data collection at this time. Sunnyvale was overcast.

2019, April 22 - The Lyrid meteor shower did not produce bright enough meteors to be detected by the GFO cameras.

Lewis Center setup

2019, April 20 - Ryan Dorcey, operator of the camera N38 at the Lewis Center for Educational Research in Apple Valley reports that the camera has been installed and is expected first light tonight. The NASA Meteorite Tracking and Recovery Network now has 10 operational cameras!

El Cajon

2019, April 18 - Another bright meteor was captured by Bob Lunsford in El Cajon shortly after 09:59:59 UT April 18. So far, there is no second perspective. If you captured this meteor as well, please let us know.


2019, April 10 - This night, two bright meteors were captured in the same part of the sky by the cameras at the ATA (Jon Richards) and, lower in the sky, in Chico (Jim Collins) at 06:53:59 and 07:13:29 UTC. The ATA-detected meteors are shown in a composite above.


2019, April 7 - Rancho Mirage Observatory (Eric McLaughlin) scored this bright meteor, their first, in the 30s after 06:32:27 UTC on April 7. Below is an image of the same meteor on the Rancho Mirage ALPHEA 6MW (3100 x 2100 pixel, 6.5 Mp) monochrome allsky camera.


The two pictures below show the same meteor as seen in El Cajon (Bob Lunsford, top) and from Tehachapi (Sean Spratt, bottom). For Sean, this was also his first meteor detection!


public night

2019, April 5 - Eric McLaughlin reports that the Rancho Mirage camera is temporary running from a position on the observing deck of the observatory, waiting for a fixture to be made so it can be mounted higher up on a pillar. During public night, the camera was protected by a tripod, which resulted in this interesting video.


2019, April 4 - Stations Lick Observatory (Kostas) and Mnt Umunhum (Lance) captured a bright meteor at 05:45:27 UTC. At Mnt Umunhum, the meteor was hiding behind one of the antennas.

2019, April 2 - Sean Spratt is reporting that the camera at Tehachapi is in operation. The first-light night was clouded, with rain later in the night. Weather was clear at Rancho Mirage Observatory, where Eric McLaughlin ran his camera at a temporary position while waiting for a fixture to be made.


2019, April 1 - No joke: the first bright meteor captured by the Fresno State camera at Sierra Remote Observatories (Fred Ringwald).


2019, March 27 - Jim Albers reports that a bright meteor was detected by station El Cajon (Bob Lunsford) on March 27 at 07:10:28 UTC. [Panoramic view]


2019, March 25 - The CAMS station at Fremont Peak Observatory captured the beginning part of the February 21 fireball. Triangulation puts the meteor above the ocean.


2019, March 23 - Kostas Chloros reports that Station 03, Lick Observatory, was mounted back in position and is collecting data with a nice clear field of view. A laser is used to shine on the meteor debris layer to create an artificial point of light above the atmosphere for adaptive optics.


2019, February 21 - Another potential meteorite fall! A bright slow-moving meteor was detected below the constellation Canis Major by GFO station Sunnyvale (Jim Albers) at 04:58:27-35 UTC (Feb 20, 20:58:27-35 PST local time). The new station near Fresno had clouds. The meteor was captured also on dash cam video from San Jose (time stamp 21:33:23-26 PST local time), and in a second dash-cam video near San Mateo, taken from the 101 freeway heading south, just past highway 92 and before the Hillsdale exit, showing the meteor at time stamp 20:58:44 pm PST (Feb. 20) local time. Visual observers reporting to the American Meteor Society put the meteor near Santa Cruz, moving towards the Monterey Penninsula [AMS event 831-2019].


2019, February 19 - The Fresno camera position was adjusted, showing more of the sky at east, west and south directions. The observatory obstructs the view in northern direction.


2019, February 17 - Prof. Fred Ringwald of Fresno State (pictured), Melvin Helm (SRO general manager), and Keith Quattrocchi (SRO special projects manager) report that the Fresno State's NEXT039 camera is operational at Sierra Remote Observatories near Fresno. Snow was heavy at times during the visit, but when it cleared the landscape was breath taking! Despite the snow, we managed to install the camera in a temporary setting at the foot of the stairs of the Fresno State remote station. Evan Cornelsen and Sam Miller are providing the technical support at Sierra Remote Observatories. They relocated the camera and arranged for a more permanent setting.


2019, February 17 - Cameras were delivered to five of the southern stations in the week of Feb. 17-23.

2019, February 15 - Our Creston meteorite fall manuscript was accepted for publication in the journal Meteoritics and Planetary Science and is now in final form online.
[Press Release]

first light

2019, February 7 - Bob Lunsford reports that the camera in El Cajon is now at its intended position and taking images. Jim Albers created the overview shown here. [Video of first night (AVI)]

2019, January 25 - Bob Lunsford in El Cajon reports that the camera has arrived.

2019, January 24 - The city of Rancho Mirage has approved the deployment of one of the cameras at the new Rancho Mirage Library Observatory. Eric McLaughlin is the resident astronomer. The map of station locations has been updated.



2019, January 10 - Jim Albers reports that a nice fireball was captured by the ATA camera at 04:24 UTC (January 9 at 20:24 PST) tonight. No Doppler radar signature was found. Jon Richards posted this Youtube video of all the images that were taken that night. [Visual reports]

2019, January 7 - Jim Collins reports a set back in Chico. A card corruption occurred and the camera is temporary off line.


2019, January 3 - The first bright meteor captured by the Chico station of Jim Collins. Not a Quadrantid. The meteor appeared at 05:42:28 UTC and was also captured by the ATA station of Jon Richards (inset).

Station 31

2018, December 31 - On New Year's eve Peter Jenniskens visited Jim Collins in Chico to deliver a repaired camera. On the edge of Chico is Meadow View Observatory, a demo model for remotely operated observatory roofs and the source of spectacular sky imaging, on top of which is set up GFO Station 31.

dust cloud

2018, December 20 - At 01:34 UTC tonight, just after sunset, a bright fireball appeared over the ocean near San Francisco and it deposited a dust cloud that was spectacularly illuminated by the setting Sun. The sky was still to bright for the GFO cameras to be operating. The meteor was just below the CAMS network cameras, which detected only a flare. Above is an image from one of the Lick Observatory cameras.


2018, December 14 - Jon Richards reports detecting this cool Moon halo at the ATA.

2018, December 12 - Six new cameras from Curtin University have arrived at the SETI Institute. They are the shoe-box model at the bottom of this page.

meteorite fall area

2018, December 9 - The graph above shows were small (2-10 gram) meteorites may have fallen from the December 3 fireball in the blog item below. Peter Jenniskens calculated from CAMS data a radiant in Aries and entry speed of 16.2 km/s. The meteor moved from SSW to NNE. Hadrien Devillepoix confirms radiant and speed from GFO data, and reports the meteoroid may have broken at 38 km altitude in 2 larger pieces and some smaller fragments. At the end of the track, the larger fragments were still moving fast, so it is not clear they survived. If smaller fragments survived from the 38-km breakup, Peter Jenniskens calculated they should have fallen along the blue line. Watch this space for possible updates.


2018, December 3 - A bright meteor was seen in Sunnyvale, as well as from the ATA low on the horizon, at around 06:26:02 UTC. The event was seen by several people, now listed as AMS 5352-2018.


2018, November 20 - Jim Albers created this spectacular video [avi, 1.8 Mb] of the ATA observations in the night of November 20.


2018, November 20 - And a second meteor appeared at 09:33:57 UTC that night. Click the above picture for a wider view.[AMS event 5167-2018] A third bright meteor near Los Angeles at 12:19 UTC was not captured.

The November 20 Taurid in all-sky imaging at Sunnyvale and the ATA stations.

2018, November 20 - Jim Albers reported that a bright meteor was detected high in the sky in Sunnyvale at 03:37:38 UTC on November 20. Hazy skies from the Camp Fire smoke did not dim the spectacle much. Both Lick Observatory and Fremont Peak detected this meteor, recording fragmentation towards the end. Triangulation of the observations (from CAMS data) showed this to be a Northern Taurid with an apparent radiant at R.A. = 63.38 +/- 0.08 degrees, Declination 24.67 +/- 0.06 degrees, and speed 29.89 +/- 0.06 km/s (Vg = 27.4 km/s). The semi-major axis of the orbit is 2.17 AU, close to the 2.22 AU of comet 2P/Encke.[AMS event 5096-2018]


2018, November 19 - GFO is an international effort and includes participation of the University of Alberta. Chris Herd reports that one of the cameras is now installed at his faculty building. Photo above shows how the mounting was solved. Photo is courtesy of the University of Alberta, and published in this news release.

2018, November 9 - The first camera was delivered to Beverly Hills, where Jason Utas will deploy the camera from a private residence. Peter Jenniskens gave a lunch seminar at UCLA.


2018, October 18 - Jim Albers created this adjustable structure to mount the GFO cameras.

2018, September 15 - Two more cameras arrived at the SETI Institute. They are a new, vertical, model and will be tested in Sunnyvale before being deployed in Southern California. The cameras are heavier, but also contain a video camera.

2018, August 22 - Curtin University has shipped another two cameras to the SETI Institute.

2018, August 20 - The FDL program returned to the SETI Institute and provided help in further developing the detection algoritms for the drone project.


2018, July 15 - Jon Richards and Jim Albers report that lightning passed at some distance by the ATA array in the early morning of June 15 UT, which was recorded by the GFO camera.

2018, May 30 - Three of the GFO cameras are already in need of replacement of the mechanical shutter in the Nikon D810 cameras. The cameras at Lick Observatory, Mount Umenhum and Chico are down and repairs are underway.

2018, May 26 - Robert Citron and Peter Jenniskens participate in a hackathon sponsored by drone company 3DR. The lidar is now a functional asset to the drone and automated test flying proves successful.

2018, April 30 - OFFICIAL START OF THE PROGRAM: Peter Jenniskens has been awarded a NASA SSO grant entitled "A meteorite-type dependent orbital element survey of small impacting NEO", which includes deployment of the GFO cameras in California and Nevada.


SETI Institute logo Curator: Peter Jenniskens
Responsible NASA Official: Kelly Fast (SSO)

Last update: (see date of latest blog entry)
Hosted by: The SETI Institute