[meteorite-list] Experts: Fireball Leaves Burnt Rock

From: Ron Baalke <baalke_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Thu Apr 22 09:43:34 2004
Message-ID: <200107251515.IAA07010_at_zagami.jpl.nasa.gov>


Experts: Fireball Leaves Burnt Rock

July 24, 2001

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - People looking for evidence of a meteoric fireball
that lit up the evening sky across the Northeast may be able to find
souvenirs of burnt rock, experts said Tuesday.

The bright lights and loud noises were reported from Virginia to New York
Monday evening. Experts said the cause was likely a ``bolide,'' a brilliant,
exploding meteor.

``It may have broken up into a number of small pieces as it entered the
earth's atmosphere,'' said Charles Liu, an astrophysicist with the American
Museum of Natural History in New York. ``Most of the pieces would be smaller
grains of sand, just ash, but there may be some larger nuggets the size of
... golf balls.''

Most of the fireball's fragments probably descended near the New
York-Pennsylvania border; several witnesses there reported hearing noises
like sonic booms.

``Sonic booms mean that it's really close. The thing to look for is dark
rocks,'' said Ron Baalke, a software engineer at NASA's
Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.

Often, meteors are hundreds of feet in diameter before the rock burns up in
the atmosphere, said Alexander Wolszczan, an astronomy professor at
Pennsylvania State University. But large meteors can hit the earth.

The object appeared to be so close in Berkeley County, W.Va., that a deputy
went into a field Monday to make sure it did not start a fire, said Kenny
Lemaster, of the county Sheriff's Department.

``It just looked like a bright flare,'' he said.
Received on Wed 25 Jul 2001 11:15:05 AM PDT

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