[meteorite-list] Australian Fireball Creates A Lot of Interest

From: Ron Baalke <baalke_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Tue Dec 14 20:24:48 2004
Message-ID: <200412150124.RAA05241_at_zagami.jpl.nasa.gov>


Fireball creates a lot of interest
Camden Haven Courier (Australia)
15 December 2004

At approximately 4.15am, Monday morning, December 6, a large bright
object was seen streaking across the coastal fringes of the mid-north
coast of NSW.

A large number of callers inundated the John Kerr 2UE radio program with
eyewitness reports of a fast moving 'meteor' trailing a greenish-blue
hue passing across the night sky before exploding in a series of bright
flashes. An eerie, constant, low rumbling sound accompanied the explosions.

Reports came from as far north as Coffs Harbour to Wollongong in the south.

News editor of SKY & SPACE Magazine, and editor of 'Astronomy Media
Services', Dave Reneke of Wauchope fielded over a dozen enquiries that
morning from radio stations across the state who picked up on the story
and gave an educated analysis of the event. He spoke at length with John
Kerr in an interview that morning to encapsule the information and
provide an insight into the reports.

He said it appears a large 'bolide' or meteor entered the atmosphere in
the early morning hours and, moving at roughly 30km/sec, became
extremely hot due to friction, turning into possibly a 'fireball' before
finally exploding and splitting into at least 3 or separate 4 pieces.
"The rumbling sounds associated with the event may have been due to the
compression of air from the object's high speed" David said.

The descriptions by some observers of a seeing a "greenish hue" or
'tail" suggest a mineral content, possibly copper or some similar
element, which tends to categorise it as something of natural
composition, as opposed to man-made space junk.

David said reports as graphic as this are very rare and, due to the
apparent large size of this object, put this incident above the 'normal'
meteorite sighting category. David estimated the size of the object to
be around the size of a suitcase - or even a small bar fridge.

David Finlay, from the Wollongong Amateur Astronomy Club contacted David
to add that an Australian monitoring station, Geoscience, recorded the
acoustic signal from its two bases at Tenant Creek and Hobart and
estimated the yield of the bolide between 200 Tonnes to 1
Kilotonne. They produced a map showing the hypothesised source location
which they said was fairly close to Kempsey, in the Macleay area of NSW.

Given that the object was travelling from west to east, it is likely
that any fragments fell into the Pacific, however the source location is
only an estimation and the strewn field could be large for such a
massive object. It is still possible however that some fragments
impacted on land .
Received on Tue 14 Dec 2004 08:24:38 PM PST

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