Mason-Dixon Fireball – July 6

There have been reports of a fireball accompanied by sonic booms over PA and MD. The fireball was observed shortly after 1 am on the morning of Monday, July 6. Based on reports sent to this blog, the American Meteor Society and local news outlets, the fireball was seen from OH to CT including reports from PA, MD, NY and NJ.

The map below shows the location of sightings (yellow stars) and sonic booms (red circles). It is obvious that the sonic boom reports are clustered in the area of York and Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

PA_fireball

What was it? Most likely the fireball was the result of a small asteroid (no bigger than a basketball) hitting Earth’s atmosphere at ~10 miles per second. The reports all confirm the telltale signs of a small asteroid ablating and breaking up in the atmosphere (blue green glow, long tail, multiple fragments, delayed sonic booms). There is a good chance that this fireball dropped a number of meteorites and I’m sure meteorite hunters are already in the area.

Additional information can be found at WGAL 8 and The Baltimore Sun.

Also remember to submit reports of this fireball to the American Meteor Society. These reports are a great help for understanding these objects and in the recovery of meteorites.

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

One Response to Mason-Dixon Fireball – July 6

  1. Dave Schrader says:

    I was sitting on my back porch at the time, i remember seeing it for just a second or two. It was traveling from East to west. It caught my eye in the northeast sky & it appeared not to be a continuous burn but it flashed a very bright white light when it caught my eye and then dim and then flash brightly again until it was gone over my sightline.I live in Bethlehem Pennsylvania. I did not hear a sonic boom, although i was listening to my mp3 player at the time. Any chance some of it fell around here?

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