Fireball Over British Columbia and the American Northwest
September 13, 2009 28 Comments
Reports have been coming in of a slow bright fireball seen over the Canadian province of British Columbia and the states of Washington and Oregon. Most reports put the time of the fireball at ~8 pm local time on the evening of September 12. The fireball traveled from east to west.
Thanks to everyone who has submitted reports to this blog. Please also submit reports to the American Meteor Society’s Fireball page.They are the official archive of fireball sightings and all reports will be made available to the scientific community.
The east to west motion can rule out the re-entry of man-made space junk since 99.9+% of man-made stuff orbits the Earth from west to east. The slow motion (described as much slower than a typical meteor) and the long duration of the fireball suggest that this was due to a very small asteroid (probably no bigger than a basketball) rather than a small piece of cometary dust like most meteors.
It is possible the fireball dropped some meteorites though the lack of any reports of sonic booms suggests that material didn’t survive to reach the lower atmosphere. As close as the fireball may have seen it was much higher than an airplane. If it was similar to most slow bright fireballs, it first became visible at an altitude of 70-100 km and faded out between 20-40 km up.
The map below shows the location of sightings reported to this blog. [Map was last updated on Sept 15 at 9:30 am PST]