From: Frank Warren <frank-warren.nul> Date: Thu, 25 Mar 2004 17:14:52 -0800 Fwd Date: Fri, 26 Mar 2004 07:35:04 -0500 Subject: Spectacular Fireball Likely A Meteor Source: Fort Frances Times - Ontario http://www.fftimes.com/index.php/17/2004-03-23/13702 March 23, 2004 Spectacular fireball likely a meteor By The Canadian Press A spectacular fireball that blazed across Prairie skies and parts of Ontario was probably a grapefruit-sized meteor, astronomers said yesterday. "I hope someone caught it on video," said Scott Young with the Manitoba Museum. "It was brighter than normal, which means it was about the size of a grapefruit." It was not a satellite, part of a rocket, or other human-made space debris, confirmed Capt. Dave Muralt of 17 Wing at CFB Moose Jaw, Sask. He checked yesterday with NORAD in Colorado, which tracks orbiting material returning to earth. Officials there told him it wasn't theirs. Chris Rutkowski, an unidentified flying object expert in Winnipeg, said "a good chunk of Canada saw this thing." He said there were reports Sunday of sightings from Edmonton to Ottawa and into North Dakota. Because so many people saw the fireball, chances are it was very high up, said Rutkowski, who was speaking on behalf of Ufology Research of Manitoba. "I get the idea it was a bright... large fragmented meteor that's starting to break up and leaving a large tail." Rutkowski doubted there was anything left to reach the ground, but the possibility had astronomers excited. It's rare, though, to find a meteor has reached the ground to become what is then called a meteorite, said Martin Beech, an astronomy professor at the University of Regina. Most burn up in the atmosphere, briefly illuminated, and are known to earthlings as shooting stars. On Sunday, some people reported they felt a sonic boom while others reported a strange smell and felt vibrations when they saw the fireball. That means the meteor was probably low in the Earth's atmosphere, possibly as low as five km, said Richard Huziak, president of the Saskatoon Centre of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada. The smell=97similar to ozone=97resulted from the meteor ionizing the oxygen in the lower atmosphere, he explained. "If it's getting that far down, there's a good chance material might have survived to land on the ground," Beech said. Fireballs enter the atmosphere about 140 km from Earth and usually burn out about 70 km away. If anyone along the meteor's path finds an odd rock, there are tell-tale characteristics to look for, such as a shiny jet-black surface and magnetic properties, Beech said. "The recovery conditions right now are perfect. The ground is still fairly hard and there's snow about, so these black rocks tend to stand out like a sore thumb."
[ Next Message | Previous Message | This Day's Messages ]
This Month's Index |
UFO UpDates - Toronto - Operated by Errol Bruce-Knapp