[meteorite-list] Bright Meteor Seen Over Colorado
From: Ron Baalke <baalke_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Thu Apr 22 10:01:32 2004
It's a UFO ... it's a plane ... it's a meteor
By Tamie Meck
Glenwood Springs Post Independent (Colorado)
June 7, 2002
If you think you saw something streak across the night sky Tuesday, you're not alone.
Two individuals contacted the Post Independent Wednesday to report that they
had seen something unusual flash across the horizon shortly after 10 p.m.,
and another reported experiencing a similar sighting shortly after midnight.
"It was like a shooting star at first," said Dorothy Barnett, of Battlement
Mesa, who was visiting a home above Catherine Store outside of Carbondale.
"It was silver or gray, then it turned into a fireball. It was bright
orange. I've seen a few falling stars, but nothing like this."
Gayle Samuelson, of Spring Valley, had a similar experience. From her
perspective, the phenomenon was red, white and blue, "then it exploded."
Kathryn Preston, of Glenwood Springs, said she was outside gazing at the sky
and looking straight up shortly after midnight Tuesday (Wednesday morning)
when she saw "a three-second tracer of orange light, then it just
disappeared. If I hadn't been looking up I wouldn't have seen it," she added.
"My guess is that there's probably a meteor shower and that's what they
saw," said Chris Lazo, the student services counselor at Colorado Mountain
College in Aspen and an amateur astronomer. Lazo is also a member of the
newly formed Roaring Fork Sky Watchers astronomy club.
According to the American Meteor Society's (AMS) website, amsmeteor.org,
there are no major meteor showers occurring over the United States at this
time, but occasional sightings of meteors anywhere in the country, day or
night, aren't unusual. A meteor is caused when a small particle of dust
orbiting the sun collides with earth's atmosphere.
Sporadic meteors, like those seen Tuesday, which are not related to any
particular meteor shower and that end in a flash or explosion, are called
"bolides." They enter the atmosphere at such a high speed that their
particles heat up, causing a glow.
People often report hearing these meteors either as a whoosh noise or an
explosive sound, or both. That phenomenon is called a 'sonic.'
None of Tuesday night's sightings were heard by their witnesses. Barnett,
however, said she logged her sighting with the AMS.
A meteor shower occurs when the earth passes through the tail or debris of a
comet or other extraterrestrial object. For those interested in seeing a
meteor, the next shower in the United States will be the Perseids meteor
shower, which will occur Aug. 11-12. According to the AMS, there will be a
"nearly continuous period of heavy meteor activity" from mid-October to
mid-December of this year, due to the Orionids (maximum visibility is Oct.
21-22), the Taurids (Nov. 11-12), and the Leonids (Nov. 17-19) meteor
The best show happens in mid-December (Dec. 13-14), with the Geminids meteor
shower. The Ursids (Dec. 22-23) shower will complete the year's activities.
Received on Mon 10 Jun 2002 12:51:02 AM PDT