The News Star
Fri, 29 Jun 2012 17:09 CDT
West Monroe resident Obie Sims said he was enjoying a relaxing evening outdoors Thursday when he saw what appeared to be a huge bottle rocket streak across the sky about 10:45 p.m.
About a minute later, Sims said he heard a loud boom and his windows shook.
"I thought it was someone shooting fireworks," he said. "I must have just seen the tail of it and then it fizzled away."
Don Wheeler, an associate professor of natural science at Louisiana Delta Community College, said the occurrence was likely what is referred to as a "fireball", a small meteor that enters the atmosphere.
Wheeler said it is not unusual for meteors to enter the atmosphere, but the size makes fireballs more noticeable.
"It was likely the size of anywhere from a grapefruit to a basketball," he said. "Most often they are about the size of a key or even a grain of sand."
According to Wheeler, the larger size carries it deeper into the atmosphere and the speed of its journey often triggers a sonic boom.
"It was likely traveling in excess of 768 miles per hour, which is roughly the speed of sound," he said.
The National Weather Service in Shreveport said they heard reports of an occurrence Thursday, which they assume was a meteor.
Wheeler said there was a similar event in March 2010 when a fireball streaked across the sky and could be seen from Shreveport to Jackson. Another similar meteor was sighted five days later. Those two meteors occurred during a minor meteor storm.
Wheeler said there is no prediction of a meteor shower this week.