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Heavenly Light Widens Eyes

From: Stig Agermose <stig.agermose@privat.dk>
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: jody@desnews.com

**

=A9 2002 Deseret News Publishing Company


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