November 7 – California Fireball
November 8, 2009 10 Comments
A brilliant fireball was seen over California during the early evening of November 7 at around 5:10 pm. Quite a few reports have been posted in the comments sections on this blog.
A comment posting by Rich gives a rather detailed observation of the event:
“11/07/2009 at approximately 1700hrs we were driving south form Santa Rosa on Hwy 12 and were passing through Sonoma when we noticed a large brilliant white fireball in a SSW direction. It first caught our attention at about 20 to 25deg off the horizon. Our visual on it only lasted only about 3-4 seconds then just before passing the hills in the distance it seemed to go out. There was no associated noise or sign of impact. It was just gone. There was a smoke or debris trail that we could see after the object was gone that was visible for perhaps a minute or so then it was dispersed by the wind.”
Pictures of the residual smoke trail can be seen on the Spaceweather.com site.
The fireball was most likely caused by a small asteroid, probably no larger than a basketball. Though it is possible it may have been related to the Taurid meteor shower which is near its maximum in activity, it could easily be unrelated to any shower. The very bright slow fireballs are usually asteroidal in origin while meteor showers are usually produced by comets.