Fire in the SkyS

Fireball 2

Meteor believed to have caused bright flash and loud 'thunder' on Sunday

Keen observers of weather might have noticed something odd about the flash of light and the subsequent loud rumble at around 10 o'clock on Sunday night - something that might have tipped them off that it wasn't just thunder and lightning.

A spokesman for the U.S. Naval Observatory said the official belief now is that the brilliant flash, dimmed substantially on the East End by the thick cloud cover, and the very loud and sustained rumble that followed half a minute or more later were actually caused by a large meteor, called a bolide, or fireball, streaking through the earth's atmosphere and bursting apart.

"We were sitting watching television ... and from where I was sitting I could see a bit of light," said Al Marino, who lives with his wife, Eve, in the Northwest Woods section of East Hampton. "Then there was a rumbling, not a boom at first, and then -



Canada: Fireball leaves 'great glow' in Alberta

Some early risers in Alberta got a glimpse of a fireball streaking across the sky Tuesday morning.

University of Calgary geologist Alan Hildebrand said about a dozen witnesses reported the sight to the Canadian Fireball Reporting Centre.

A meteor, weighing between 10 and 100 kilograms, broke into pieces southeast of Calgary about 6:30 a.m. local time and likely burned up before hitting the ground, said Hildebrand.

Roger Kunkel was driving from Raymond to Lethbridge just after 6:30 a.m. Tuesday when he saw a "great glow" in the sky coming from the southeast and heading north.

"Sort of a blue and then breaking up into pieces. It was like you could almost go out into the field and find it, it was so close. It was a beautiful sight."


Canada: Residents in Alberta and Saskatchewan spot brilliant fireball in morning sky

Calgary - People in Alberta and Saskatchewan spotted a brilliant green fireball streak across the sky early Tuesday morning.

University of Calgary geologist Alan Hildebrand says about a dozen witnesses have reported the sight to the Canadian Fireball Reporting Centre.

He says the meteorite, weighing between 10 and 100 kilograms, broke into pieces southeast of Calgary about 6:30 a.m. local time.

He says it likely burned up before hitting the ground.


Canada: Fireball streaks across early-morning sky in Edmonton

Early risers might have seen a rainbow-like light dash across the the sky Tuesday morning.

At about 6:30 a.m., Andy Topma was parked outside his workplace at 4770 94th Ave., sipping coffee, when he noticed a bright green flash outside his left car window.

"It was screaming along the sky," Topma said. "As it went farther away, it actually started to change colour. It looked like it was changing to a yellow or red or orange."

From where I was sitting, it looked like it might have hit the ground."


US: Mysterious flash/boom rocks eastern seaboard, including firsthand reports

A mysterious flash of light, followed by a loud boom was reported by thousands of people from Maryland through North Carolina, prompting many calls to local 911 centers. The event also received massive media attention. So far, authorities have only been able to rule out that it wasn't a meteorological event. The following are some of the reports that were coming into the Mutual UFO Network headquarters:

Richmond, Virginia - 9:45-10:05 p.m. - Two witnesses observed what they described as resembling a green meteor shoot down from the sky toward the ground. The first witness' husband came outside to see what she was looking at. He looked in the opposite direction from where his wife had spotted the object, but nothing was seen. He continued to scan the night sky when he saw a bright white orb appear in the western sky, shooting horizontally from right to left for a couple of seconds, before vanishing.

Chesapeake, Virginia - 9:30 p.m. - Witness observed a flash in the sky followed with a loud boom unlike the jets they have in the area. Within a few seconds a second boom was heard, but it was not as loud as the first. The witness indicated he later heard several similar reports over his local television news.


Best of the Web: US: Multiple Eyewitness Reports of Fireball Sightings off Atlantic Coast

Summary: On March 29th, 2009, at approximately 9:45 pm EDT, people along the Atlantic coast of the USA between Maryland and North Carolina witnessed bright lights in the sky and heard thunderous rumbles. It was probably a meteoritic fireball--a small, random asteroid entering Earth's atmosphere and exploding. Although the event was widely seen (and even more widely heard), it was not widely photographed. Onlookers did not have time to grab their cameras before the meteor disappeared.

Eyewitness Accounts:

Location: Virginia Beach, Virginia

Comments: Mark Ost: "I am an amateur astronomer. I witnessed the fireball last night during an observing session. At approximately 2130 I witnessed the entry and what appeared to be an explosion of the bolide. The fireball was approximately 36 to 40 degrees above the horizon. I know this due to my telescope alignment and familiarity with the location of Polaris. The bolide was traveling in a north east direction. Initially the trace was the bright green of an ionization trail. The bolide then turned brilliant white fringed with an orange rim. I timed the arrival of the sound to two minutes after seeing the object explode and extinguish itself. I am located in southern Virginia Beach, Back Bay. Assuming the speed of sound at 600 mph, I calculated the distance to be 20 to 30 miles (direct line of sight) away. The event was also witnessed by Kent Blackwell, a very experienced amateur astronomer."

Comment: See: Atlantic Coast Fireball could not have been body of Russian Rocket?


US: Atlantic Coast Fireball could not have been body of Russian Rocket

Last night, March 29th around 9:45 pm EDT, people along the Atlantic coast of the USA from Maryland to North Carolina witnessed bright lights in the sky and heard thunderous booms. It was probably a meteoritic bolide--a random asteroid hitting Earth's atmosphere and exploding in flight.

Another possibility is being discussed as well: A spent Russian rocket body reentered the atmosphere on March 29th. According to data published by US Strategic Command, the rocket reentry happened near Taiwan (24° N, 125° E) more than two hours after the Atlantic Coast event.


US: NUFORC Advisory - Dramatic Fireball Over Eastern U. S. at 21:44 hrs (EDT) on Sunday Night, March 29, 2009

NUFORC has received a number of telephone calls, as well as written reports, of a dramatic fireball that was seen at approximately 21:44 hrs. (EDT) on Sunday night, March 29, 2009.

One witness in South Hill, Virginia, reported having been witness to a large fireball, its apparent size larger than the apparent size of the full Moon, in the eastern sky, which lasted for a few seconds.


US: The big boom in Stamford remains a mystery (1999)

When the boom hit shortly before 10 p.m. on an autumn night a decade ago, a security guard at First Union Bank on Main Street thought robbers were breaking in.

The desk sergeant thought something exploded at police headquarters on Bedford Street.

Stamford Emergency Medical Service workers thought someone drove into their Strawberry Hill Avenue building.

At Curley's Diner downtown, the manager thought someone fell in the bathroom.

A woman who lived near Stamford Hospital thought her child pulled over a dresser.


Australia: Meteor theory for spectacular sky show

The source of a long trail of lights seen by many Tasmanians speeding across the sky yesterday afternoon remained unknown last night.

Tasmania Police switchboards were inundated with phone calls from across the state about 1.30pm -- all from people concerned about the lights which appeared to be heading downwards as they headed south.

Police told the Sunday Tasmanian the sightings had triggered fears that a plane or a meteor was about to crash to the ground.

Some callers had thought distress flares were being let off.