More on the Sudanese fireball – 2008 TC3

The fireball caused by the impact of 2008 TC3 has been confirmed. The NASA’s Near-Earth Object Project Office reports that the fireball was observed on October 7 at 02:45:45 UT. The energy released was estimated at 0.9 to 1.0 kilotons of TNT. They do not give the source of this information though they state that more information is forthcoming. My guess, is this sighting is from the US Department of Defense’s Defense Satellite Program (DSP) satellites. The DSP program consists of a constellation of missile early warning satellites which monitor most of the world for missile launches. These satellites are also very good at detecting bright fireballs. Hopefully more details will become available.

The NEO Project Office also reports that an infrasound station in the African nation of Kenya made a detection. Dr. Peter Brown of University of Western Ontario in Canada estimates the energy released at 1.1 to 2.1 kilotons of TNT. A third report comes from a pilot on a KLM flight over the nation of Chad who saw a flash at the time of the fireball. More info on this last two reports can be found at Spaceweather.com.

The fact that there are no videos of this fireball are disappointing but not surprising. The fireball occurred over northern Sudan which is sparsely populated and rather poor. Sudan is also not a country that you can just show up and drive around in. It would have been difficult to have traveled to the fireball site. It will be interesting to see if any meteorites are found on the ground from this fireball. Even with all of the difficulties of travel in Sudan, I’d be surprised if a few meteorite hunters don’t find their way to the predicted impact site.

[Exciting new news]

An image of the fireball taken from a European weather satellite has been posted by Jiri Borovicka of the Czech Academy of Sciences. The image can be found on the frontpage of Spaceweather.com. More info on the this sighting can be found at the webiste of the EUMETSAT.

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

6 Responses to More on the Sudanese fireball – 2008 TC3

  1. Kim says:

    Hi, being only an amateur, on Wednesday night, October 8, 2008 at approximately 9:15 central time USA. My daughter and I witnessed a huge fireball in what appeared to be the eastern sky. It was amazing with a super long bright orange tail. I was amazed that it appeared to be going so slow. Was it a meteor?

  2. Carl Hergenrother says:

    Hi Kim,

    Thanks for the report. It sure sounds like a either a meteor or a re-entering piece of an old rocket or satellite. Where did you make the sighting? It’s possible others in the area saw it as well.

    – Carl

  3. Wilson says:

    Wednesday 10/8 night d-riving up I35 from Riverwind to Norman Oklahoma my mother and I saw something north of norman that looked like a shooting star but man I have never seen one so close to us – you could make out detailed flames and a huge tail…to be honest it kind of freaked us out because we both have never seen anything like it so close before

  4. Tammy says:

    From Timmins, Ontario, Canada – thought we would share with you on October 17th, 2008 at approximately 7:20 pm., my two little boys and their friends were playing outside in our backyard when they started yelling for my husband, my husband then came yelling to me to go outside. In the clear night sky we saw what we describe as a HUGE orange and red fireball. We could see the flames and a small tail. At first we thought it was an airliner jet plane that blew up in the sky. It was traveling southeasterly, and as it travelled along in the sky it dimmed out, and got smaller. It seemed to descend quickly, and it was traveling at a speed that an airliner jet would travel as if you were watching it fly in the sky!!! It was the wierdest thing we’ve ever seen!!!! but was very exciting to watch. My children and their friends thought it was the Omnitrix from their favourite cartoon TV show Ben-10 (ha ha)

    Tammy – Timmins, Ontario Canada

  5. tracy walden says:

    Hi tracy walden lindsay ontario
    aug 16th 2009 around 1030 pm my son and i were out side watching for stars to fall and we saw alarge read flare head from the south to the north but was faster then a plane it went behind out house and by the time be got to the other side it was gone but we heard a loud bang when it hit the atmosphere it was so cool to see was just wondering if any one else seen it too

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