Fireballs From Around the World – Sept 25-26

The past few days have seen a number of fireball reports being left in the comment sections from all over the world.

There does not appear to be anything in common between these sighting. Though fireballs are uncommon, they are not rare. If you spend enough time staring at the sky at night, you’re bound to see a spectacular one. As the Taurid meteor shower builds in intensity over the next month or two, many more fireballs should be seen.

Below is a quick summary of what was seen. All of the fireballs were caused by “space debris”, whether rocks or man-made, burning up in the Earth’s atmosphere at heights of 80-100 kilometers (50-60 miles).

Sept 25 – West Virginia

An orange/yellow fireball was sighted near Wheeling, West Virginia at 2 am EDT on Sept 25. The report was submitted by Courtney.

Sept 25 – Illinois/Ohio

Later the same morning at ~6:20 am EDT, Linda reported a fireball seen in Wapakoneta and St. Marys, Ohio. The multi-colored (white/yellow/orange) fireball traveled from the northeast towards the northwest and burned out (or terminated) overhead.

A posting to the ‘meteorobs‘ mailing list reports a probable sighting of this same meteor at ~5:30 CDT from Chicago, Illinois. Al Degutis saw a bright, slow-moving meteor move from just north of overhead to the eastern horizon. The time, direction of travel, and distance between Chicago and Ohio sightings suggest that this is the same object. A map of the 3 sightings is included below. Due to the difference in 3 hours, this fireball is not the same as the Wheeling meteor mentioned above.

Sighting of the Sept 25 fireball over Illinois and Ohio. Sighting are denoted by the red stars.

Sighting of the Sept 25 fireball over Illinois and Ohio. Sighting are denoted by the red stars.

Sept 25 – France/ Isle of Wight

Two reports from France and the Isle of Wight may be sightings of the same fireball. Sally Isaacs saw a fireball from the Isle of Wight at 10:15 GMT on the evening of Sept 25. One hour into a flight from Birmingham, UK to Milan, Italy, Lucy sighted a fireball moving from north to south. No time was given for this sighting but the  circumstances are close enough that the same object may have been seen.

Sept 25 – Louisiana

M Davey of Baton Rogue and Lisa Marie from southern Louisiana both saw a fireball over Louisiana at 11 pm CDT on Sept 25. Lisa Marie reported that other sighting were made offshore in the Gulf of Mexico. It was described as green-blue and moving East to West. At least one bright flare was reported.

Sept 26 – near Heathrow, England

Tim Allen, an Airbus A320 pilot, saw a nice fireball trailing sparks as he was heading into Heathrow airport at 10:30 pm GMT on Sept 26. The fireball moved from the northwest to the southeast.

Sept 26 – Florida

Bryan Tippetts reported a fireball over Tampa, Florida at 8:10 pm EDT on Sept 26. The fireball was seen in the eastern sky moving from north to south.

Sept 26 – Australia

Though there are were no reports of this fireball submitted to this blog, a posting on the Seesat-L (satellite watchers) mailing list states that many people witnessed a spectacular fragmenting fireball over Adelaide in South Australia. The event happened at 00:17 local time on Sept 26.

In this case, it was the re-entry and breakup of a Russian rocket upper stage which had launched 3 Glonass satellites a few days earlier. Glonass is the Russian equivalent of the American Global Positioning System (GPS) system.

Thanks again for all of the reports and keep them coming.

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About Carl Hergenrother
I am a professional astronomer specializing in the study of comets, asteroids and meteors. This blog will focus on my professional and amateur work in this field

13 Responses to Fireballs From Around the World – Sept 25-26

  1. Vince Costa-Barnett says:

    My girlfriend and I just saw a fireball over Essex, England. It was travelling from south to north and seemed to die out and dissapear after several minutes. Interested to know if anyone else saw this.

    Vince & Angela
    Essex, England
    27th Sept 2008 – 21.20

  2. Wes Carmichael says:

    We were in France during the last week of September 2008 and at approximately 2300hrs CET (2200hrs GMT(BST)) on 25th September 2008 my wife and I witnessed what we consider could have been a fireball/meteorite and wondered if you could confirm the activity.

    We were camping in a small French field GPS co-ordinates +45° 54’ 3.24”, +2° 28’ 24.93” and the meteorite travelled in a SSE direction in the general direction of the Puy de Sancy (relative to our position) – (the flash on entry into the atmosphere happened about a second before I looked up). We both traced the fireball/meteorite across the sky for a good 30 or more seconds and witnessed it breaking up into 6 quite clearly discernable parts.

    Obviously this was quite a highlight of our evening (sat around a camp fire drinking hot chocolate…) and we would like to know if what we saw was what we thought it was, or could it have been space hardware re-entering the atmosphere (something we have considered a possibility)? Do you have any other witnesses to this? Is there a general database of sightings that we can add this to?

    • Guy Hirst-Amos says:

      Hello Wes,
      We were all just outside reims France fishing and this fireball crossed in font of us about 23.00 hrs I grabbed my camera and took two photos but I forgot to Put on the flash, it has been playing on our minds for years what it was it looked like a meterorite with a long sparkling tail like a firework rocket tail. It was huge and I looked for a answers at the time but could find none until now.

      Regards Guy.

  3. phil says:

    September 26 around 8 pm a friend and I were riding motorcycles south on Highway 11 from Bunnel Florida and we were a few miles north of highway 40. This area is west of Ormond Beach Florida and is in a forest. There are no towns around creating light pollution.

    A blue-green fireball was heading N to S and was east from us. It appeared over my left shoulder and passed by us. Distance from us is unknown. We could not hear anything with the bikes and wind noise. It disappeared over the horizon which is high due to the trees. We both pulled over immediately and asked at the same time, “Did you see that?”

    The size of the ball was about like looking at your smallest fingernail at arms length but it was definitely ball shaped. It had a trail that appeared to be a foot and 1/2 long coming off of said fingernail. The trail was more green than blue and at the very end had faint orange in it.

    It did not move as quickly as a regular shooting star and to move from my 9 oclock to my 11 oclock took about 7 seconds.

  4. Ian Price says:

    I saw a huge fireball which split into two pieces just before it vanished.
    It was the biggest comet or whatever it was I’ve ever seen and I’m almost 54 years old.
    It was travelling roughly in a north westerly direction and occured at approximately 12.45 am. I observed it from the Wirral peninsular in North west England on a cold clear night in the small hours of April 5th 2009.

    • Deanna says:

      I also saw a huge fireball that disappeared behind a mountain. It looked like a house was fallling out of the sky. Just as it disappeared it looked like it was separating. The one I saw was Sunday evening April 5th around 10:15 MST. It was in Colorado.

  5. Sonya says:

    At March 25th (at about 20:30 Mexican time) I was standing on the balcony of my hotelroom In Playa del Carmen, Mexico. I saw a huge fireball (red/orange) moving from right to left, with a tale of glowing pieces. The fireball looked like this one: http://www.hickswithsticks.com/Photos/SF_Bay_Area_Twang_Bands/Fireball_Mailmen/fireball_mailmen.html.
    After about 5 seconds it vanished. I’d like to know if more people have seen this fireball.

  6. J says:

    FRIDAY 9 pm EST OVER LAKE HURON IN PORT SANILAC MICHIGAN ,green fireball with orange tail SEPTEMBER 25 2008

  7. Dawna Godfrey says:

    Fire ball spotted at Ormond Beach, Florida on Tuesday night Sept.22,2009 , about 10:00 p.m. It was a brilliant, round, orange and red ball with long red streak It lasted about 4 or 5 seconds then vanished.

  8. Fran says:

    September 26, 2009
    Huge fireball spotted just before sunset around 7:30pm, red/orange/yellow hues, awesome glowing effect, looked as if something travelled the entire length of the sky, cutting it in half and leaving an ocean-like appearance to the entire sky afterwards. The ball glowed for at least 3 minutes before disappearing. I viewed this on Hwy 84West from Tullos to Winnfield, LA. I’ve never seen anything so strange in the sky before. Took lots of pictures on my cell phone, though….captured some of the activity at least.

  9. Dale says:

    October 1 2009 – Saw a fireball in the sky over Essex, England – must have been heading in my direction as there was no trail just a bright white light getting bigger and turning white to orange. Watched it for about a minute.

  10. Neil says:

    Thought you might want to hear about a fireball sighting, Long 52 Latt 1 20:10 GMT. It was orange, bright (double to triple outshines venus in magnitude), visibly flickering, composed of two points travelled NNE to WSW. There was an arch consistent with this being a high altitude object. Additionally there was a fade on the end of its traverse, this would suggest either a meteor burning out or a sunlit object (seems unlikely from the look of the object).

  11. Neil says:

    Neil :
    Thought you might want to hear about a fireball sighting, Long 52 Latt 1 20:10 GMT. It was orange, bright (double to triple outshines venus in magnitude), visibly flickering, composed of two points travelled NNE to WSW. There was an arch consistent with this being a high altitude object. Additionally there was a fade on the end of its traverse, this would suggest either a meteor burning out or a sunlit object (seems unlikely from the look of the object).

    The long lat position is Essex, England.

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