From: Stig Agermose <email@example.com> Date: Tue, 08 Oct 2002 00:50:38 +0200 Fwd Date: Tue, 08 Oct 2002 07:13:33 -0400 Subject: Heavenly Light Widens Eyes Source: Deseret News, http://www.deseretnews.com/dn/view/0,1249,410017749,00.html Stig *** Monday, October 7, 2002 Wow! Heavenly light widens eyes By Jody Genessy Deseret News staff writer *** Goodness gracious! A great ball of fire sure raised a ruckus in northern Utah Sunday night. Emergency dispatch operators, news organizations and space- related businesses along the Wasatch Front were flooded with phone calls from the curious and concerned. People reported seeing a forest fire above Olympus Cove, an unusually bright light in the sky from Ogden to Santaquin, a colorful fireball above Morgan and Summit counties, even explosions in the heavens. The unidentified flying object streaked in a north-to-south direction over Utah at 7:30 p.m. "I'm looking to welcome the guys to Utah," said one police dispatcher, joking about a possible E.T. sighting. No such luck. This UFO was determined to be a meteor. It was spotted anywhere from Bear Lake to Denver to Sevier County. One person "saw a green ball of fire with a blue tail," said a dispatcher who took at least 15 phone calls from concerned and curious Summit County residents. Police in Salt Lake County were dispatched to the possible fire in the Olympus Cove area, but there wasn't one. Other people "were calling in about the bright lights," said a Salt Lake County sheriff dispatcher. "It's been rather interesting." Peter Wilensky, a National Weather Service meteorologist (that's meteorologist, not meteor-ologist) based in Salt Lake, called this meteor a random event. It wasn't part of an "organized shower" nor was it "a piece of space junk." "Nobody reported any audio, any sound associated with it," he said. "There were no sonic booms, so it was probably fairly high. It's hard to say how large it is." "All of a sudden we got lots of calls . . . from all sorts of places," he added. "So it was a bona fide event." Seth Jarvis, director of the Hansen Planetarium, believes the meteor was probably rather small and was rapidly zipping along. He was checking for an official American Meteor Society report on ( www.amsmeteors.org), but one hadn't been posted as of Monday morning. "What really could've lit up the skies," he said, "was a rock the size of a softball entering the atmosphere at 100,000 miles an hour." Some meteors we see are only dust-size particles smacking the atmosphere. "It doesn't take much," Wilensky said. Though some people reported seeing it land, that was probably an optical illusion. Jarvis speculates the meteor was 60 miles overhead. "It's unlikely anything actually landed," he said. Chunks from outer space such as this one are so visible because they create great heat when entering the upper atmosphere, Jarvis explained. They vaporize into atoms from friction and that vapor then causes a brilliant streak. Which, in turn causes a lot of curiosity on Earth. E-MAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org ** =A9 2002 Deseret News Publishing Company
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