Fire in the Sky


Montana, California: Possible fireball sighted in night sky around Bozeman

John Blue Mountain Greenfire had just poured a cup of coffee and was outside enjoying the evening air around 8 p.m. Wednesday when he saw what he thought was an airplane on fire, heading toward Belgrade.

But while no fiery jetliner ever touched down at Gallatin Field airport, a white fireball, a type of meteor, was reported over Torrance, Calif., at 8:13 p.m. MST, traveling southeast, according to the American Meteor Society's 2010 Fireball Sightings Table.

"I was really puzzled," said Greenfire, who lives on Sourdough Road in southwest Bozeman. "All I saw was a ball of fire flying northwest for three, maybe four seconds."

The Southern California report indicated the fireball was as bright as the full moon.

Meteorite Crashes Through Virginia Doctor's Office

© Linda Welzenbach/Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
The meteorite that crashed into a doctor's office in Virgina Jan. 18, 2010.
A small meteorite fell from the sky and crashed through the roof of a doctor's office in Virginia, but luckily no one was hit, experts say.

The half-pound meteorite struck the Lorton, Va.-based office of Dr. Frank Ciampi, a general practice physician, on Monday evening while he was on the second floor of his two-story building.

"It went through the roof. It through one wall partition and then passed through a particle board ceiling into the floor of an examination room," said Linda Welzenbach, manager of the meteorite collection at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, which confirmed that the object was indeed a meteorite from outer space. "It's not really big. It's about the size of your fist."

'Fireball' seen falling over Buchans, Newfoundland, Canada

Date: January 21, 2010
Time: 5:01 - 5:16 p.m.

Location of Sighting: Buchans, Newfoundland, Canada.
Number of witnesses: 5
Number of Objects: 1
Shape of Objects: Round Orange Ball.

Full Description of Event/Sighting: Coming out of work, I looked up to the sky. At first it looked as if an airplane had exploded and was plummeting to earth. It was in my mind a 'fireball'. There was a tail, like white exhaust. It declined at a constant speed. I went to pick up my friend and we followed. At 5:16 is was finally at the horizon. We have no idea what it was and wish to find out. Unfortunately I had nothing on me at the time to take a photo or video. If this can be explained, we would love to know. Thanks.

Almost-close encounter: Meteorite hits Lorton doctor's office

Much later, after the hole in the roof had been fixed and the debris cleaned up, after the cause of the damage finally had become clear, Frank Ciampi wondered: What are the odds?

He is a doctor. He has worked for 18 years in the two-story building in Lorton that houses the Williamsburg Square Family Practice, in the 9500 block of Richmond Highway. He spends his days walking in and out of examining rooms, seeing patients.

What are the chances, as he goes about his routine, that he'll get hit by a meteorite?

Not impossible.

It almost happened.

"I was in my office doing charts," Ciampi recalled. It was Monday, a little after 5:30 p.m. He was on the building's second floor. "And I heard a loud boom, almost like a small explosion."

At first, he said, he thought a bookcase had toppled nextdoor. "So I ran toward the office. And then I saw all the debris in the hallway," he said.

Comment: Dr. Marc Gallini and Dr. Frank Ciampi are interviewed about a meteorite strike at the Williamsburg Square Family Practice in Lorton, VA. Video


US: Monday's meteor fell on Lorton, Virginia dental office

A Washington DC television station is reporting an apparent meteorite fall in Lorton, Va. The space rock, which has been taken to the Smithsonian Institution, crashed through the roof of a dentist's office at around 5:45 p.m. on Monday, narrowly missing patients and staff.

The reported time of the fall matches closely the time that scores of people from New Jersey to southern Virginia reported they saw a bright meteor fall, leaving a writhing smoke trail in the twilight sky. The Baltimore Sun's WeatherBlog has received more than 100 reports of the fall from observers.

The story on the Web site of WUSA9 in Washington says the mango-sized meteorite crashed through the roof and acoustical tiles of the Williamsburg Square Family Practice office in Lorton. Dr. Frank Ciampi told the station the crash was so loud he thought bookshelves had toppled.

Lorton Meteorite, The Fourth Observed To Fall In Virginia

Lorton -- A meteorite, the size of a mango, punched through the ceiling of the Williamsburg Square Family Practice Office in Lorton.

Dr. Marc Gullani says, "Literally an explosion went off."

Dr. Frank Ciampi tells 9NEWS NOW he thought the book shelves fell down.

He says, "It came from the roof, through the fire wall through the ceiling and hit the ground right here."

The meteorite came down with such force, it pushed ceiling tile underneath the carpet and cut into the concrete of the exam room.

9NEWS NOW went to the experts at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, with the extraterrestrial particles inside a box. For Meteorite Scientists Linda Welzenbach and Dr. Cory Corrigan, it was a special moment.

Dr. Welzenbach says, "As I recall, this will be the fourth fall in Virginia."

He adds, "It's got a fusion crust. This is what's happened when it's passed the atmosphere, passing very quickly through the atmosphere."

US: Several witness fireball falling over Pennsylvania and Delaware

Date: January 18, 2010
Time: Approx: 5:40 p.m.

Location of Sighting: New Hope, PA.
Number of witnesses: two
Number of Objects: 1
Shape of Objects: Large Ball of fire falling from the sky.

Full Description of Event/Sighting: Hi Brian, My friend and I were driving South on Route 202 in New Hope on 1/18/10, around 5:40 p.m., when all of a sudden I noticed a large ball of fire falling from the sky directly in front of us. It was moving quickly and seemed to burn out before hitting the ground. At first I thought it was a plane and then I realized it was too small, but definitely too large to be a falling star.

Twilight meteor reported Monday in Maryland

The Tuesday morning mail contained the following report from a reader in Reisterstown, Md. He and his wife spotted a bright meteor to their south after sunset on Monday evening. The crescent moon and planet Jupiter were visible in the southwest.

Here's his report, including a meteor photo he says resembles what he saw. If anyone else spotted the same object, please leave us a comment and describe what you saw. Please include the time, your location, the direction you were looking, the direction of flight, the object's approximate height above the horizon (in degrees, if possible; zero degrees is on the horizon, 90 degrees is straight up) and anything else you can remember.


Meteor Flashing Through Utah Skies On November 18, 2009 (Another video)


'Ice Comet' To Blame For Crashing Through Roof Of Home?

It Wasn't A Bird. Was It A Plane? A Massive Piece Of Hail? An Ice Comet?

Brush, Colorado -- The mystery continues in Brush after something fell from the sky and crashed through Danelle Hagan's kitchen.

Initially, most involved thought it came from a plane, likely that so-called "blue ice" that sometimes falls from commercial airliners.

There are now several new theories, including the possibility it may have been an "ice comet."

The Discovery Channel is investigating that possibility for an upcoming show set to air this spring.

Construction crews are working to restore Hagan's kitchen. It's an older home, so restoration crews had to clean up some asbestos before crews could start rebuilding.

It happened two months ago, on Nov. 14. Hagan and her 8-year-old daughter were at home in the living room when they heard what they thought was an explosion in the kitchen. It turns out a basketball-sized chunk of ice crashed through her kitchen ceiling -- destroying everything in its path.