Dick Pugh enthralled about 50 people Tuesday night with his presentation on the fireball that lit up the sky on the morning of Feb. 19.

Adults and children crowded into the children's section of the Pendleton Public Library to hear Pugh, a scientist with the Cascadia Meteorite Laboratory. He provided the latest facts on the meteor and gave suggestions about how to find pieces of the space rock.

Pugh will hold another presentation at 7 tonight at the Hermiston Public Library, 235 E. Gladys Ave.

Pugh began by showing a few photos of the fireball that came down over southeast Washington and northeast Oregon about 5:30 a.m. on Feb. 19. Pugh said it probably weighed between one and two tons, came down to earth at 13 miles per second and exploded two or three times - between 15 and 25 miles above the ground. He said people saw the fireball in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Nevada and northern California and British Columbia and Alberta, Canada.

"It was a very bright object," he said. "It's the brightest fireball we've had since 1987."

The breakup of the meteorite caused sonic booms from Arlington to Lewiston and from Walla Walla to Baker, he said.

"The explosion was equal to 50 tons of TNT," Pugh said. "So it was a pretty good bang. And you're in the Pendleton area where some folks were literally bounced out of bed by it."

Some of the meteor pictures came from Providence Hospital in Portland, 250 miles from where the fireball actually broke up. He also showed a video from the National Guard Armory in Boise. He played the video on a projector to the "oohs" "aahs" and chuckles of the crowd.

"Coming in ... bang! ... bang!" he said, narrating the video.

"We had people out. I think poor old Helix took it the hardest," he continued. "We had people who were sound asleep and the blinds were pulled. And all of a sudden the inside of the rooms got so bright you couldn't even tell where the walls were. You sit up and start to get up and wonder, 'What the heck was that?' - and the sonic boom almost knocks you out of bed."

Pugh said the February fireball probably produced a strewn field, where large pieces of the meteorite land at one end and little pieces at the other. The strewn field is usually about 10 miles long and 5 miles wide.

"What I'm hoping for is somebody got one through the barn roof," he said. "If you're anywhere up on the west side of the Blues, this thing blew up 20 to 25 miles up. There could be pieces on both sides of the Blue Mountains. If Tollgate is ground zero ... you could have rocks all the way from Weston to Elgin. Look for holes in the roof."

Pugh also went over other fireballs and meteors hitting the Earth over the last century. He told stories about Oregon's four meteorites, including the most famous, the Willamette Meteorite. He also covered the different types of meteorites - iron, stony and stony irons - and how to identify them.

The fireball that streaked over Eastern Oregon sparked interest in the audience and they had many questions for Pugh after he finished his talk.

One child asked how much a meteorite would be worth. Pugh said a small, fist-sized piece would be worth several thousand dollars.

"But where there's one, there's more," Pugh said. "If that thing weighed between one and two tons coming in, there's probably a ton of this stuff laying out there, somewhere. It could be anywhere from the Umatilla Reservation clear across the top - I suppose as far east as Enterprise."

He also had a homework assignment for those in the audience.

As the weather dries out, he said people should take a magnet, put it in a plastic baggy and drag it over the dripline of their barn roofs. Because meteorites are magnetic, they will stick to the magnet.