[meteorite-list] Canada Region Treated To Rare Sky Show

From: Ron Baalke <baalke_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Thu Apr 22 09:48:10 2004
Message-ID: <200110041517.IAA18694_at_zagami.jpl.nasa.gov>


Region treated to rare sky show
London Free Press (Ontario, Canada)
October 4, 2001

People lucky enough to witness the brilliant ball of fire that lit skies
over the London region Tuesday night were having a once-in-a-lifetime
experience, says a University of Western Ontario astronomy professor.

John Landstreet, who received a flurry of calls after The Free Press quoted
him in a story about the phenomenon, said this kind of fireball only comes
along once in a long time.

"This is the sort of thing people typically see once in a lifetime," he
said. "So anyone who saw it can be very pleased with themselves."

Landstreet didn't see it but has collected witness reports that lead him to
believe the object, possibly a hunk of iron or rock, entered the atmosphere
over Lake Huron near Goderich and headed southeast toward London.

It crossed the northeast corner of London and may have gone dark 20 or 30
kilometres east of London, Landstreet said. "It appears to have been an
unusually impressive fireball."

It's not possible at this point to determine the composition of the visitor,
Landstreet said, but the possibilities include something of "cometary"
origin or a rock or iron meteorite.

Whatever it was, it put on a spectacular show.

Witnesses Landstreet talked to described a "bright, impressive flare that
moved across the sky not too rapidly. It took some seconds to cross. That
means it was quite high."

Some people said the flash was accompanied by a "rolling, rumbly noise" like
rolling thunder, he said.

People who thought the object landed behind nearby buildings were almost
certainly experiencing an optical illusion, the astronomer said.

"I think what people saw was the fireball disappearing over the horizon. It
looks like it's falling down nearby but it's not."


- Meteoroid: A piece of iron or rock travelling through outer space. Most
are the size of a pebble.

- Meteor: The description for the streak of light that occurs when a space
object falls into Earth's atmosphere and burns up in a flash or streak of
light across the night sky. Also known as shooting or falling stars.

- Meteorite: A larger meteoroid that survives its blazing trip though the
atmosphere and hits the Earth's surface.
Received on Thu 04 Oct 2001 11:17:18 AM PDT

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