[meteorite-list] Fireball Sighting Over Canada Excites Scientists

From: Ron Baalke <baalke_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Thu Apr 22 09:48:12 2004
Message-ID: <200110161526.IAA17972_at_zagami.jpl.nasa.gov>


Alberta asteroid sighting excites scientists
October 16, 2001

An asteroid perhaps weighing 10 tonnes may have exploded in the atmosphere
above Alberta, a rumbling boom being heard across Western Canada, say

Excited geological experts hope pieces of Sunday's asteroid may have crashed
to Earth, and they want to get a chance to search for them.

Alan Hildebrandt, co-ordinator of the Canadian Fireball Reporting Centre, is
trying to gather information from as many witnesses as possible to pinpoint
where the asteroid's remnants may have landed.

"This object was probably an asteroidal fragment entering the atmosphere,
something in the region of one to 10 tonnes," he said.

So far, he's received sightings of the asteroid from Medicine Hat in the
east to Mission, B.C., in the west.

"It was seen over hundreds of kilometres of area, even though the region was
partially cloudy," said Hildebrandt.

"The loudest sounds reported so far seem to be from the Banff area, so that
presumably means the terminal burst, the explosions at the end where the
object fragmented, were relatively near there.

"It definitely blew up in the atmosphere."

Hildebrandt said the asteroid travelling at immense speed would experience
intense pressure entering the atmosphere until it was literally crushed.

"Much of the object disintegrated into dust, but some of the strongest
pieces would survive," he said.

But, Hildebrandt isn't completely confident of recovering pieces, because if
they fell in the mountains, it's unlikely they'd be found.

Randy Ilcisin was with three friends driving ATVs about 15 km west of Sundre
when they heard the asteroid exploding at 2:30 p.m.

"We all heard it and had no idea what it was. We thought it might be a
distant landslide."

Alan Dyer of the Calgary Science Centre is also collecting data on the
sightings and hopes to hear from people further west and north who saw, or
heard it.

"We believe it may have passed over Lake Louise, several kilometres high in
the atmosphere," he said.

If you saw Sunday's asteroid, contact Dyer at 211-3731.
Received on Tue 16 Oct 2001 11:26:58 AM PDT

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