[meteorite-list] Brilliant Meteor Streaks Over Northeastern US on May 17

From: Ron Baalke <baalke_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Fri, 20 May 2016 16:08:25 -0700 (PDT)
Message-ID: <201605202308.u4KN8PJO012121_at_zagami.jpl.nasa.gov>


Fireball! Brilliant Meteor Streaks Over Northeastern US
By Elizabeth Howell
May 20, 2016

A huge fireball lit up the night sky over the northeastern United States
Tuesday (May 17), sparking hundreds of reports by skywatchers lucky enough
to have witnessed the dazzling meteor event. And if you want to go meteorite
hunting, there may be a rich reward if you find a piece of the object.

Views of the fireball, including these awesome videos from police car
dashcams in Maine and New York, show a brilliant streak across the late-night
sky (it occured at 12:50 a.m. EDT, or 0450 GMT, on Tuesday). One particularly
striking photo, included in this report, shows the fireball over the Piscataqua
River in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and was captured by a Portsmouthwebcam.com
camera by Mike McCormack.

According to the American Meteor Society (AMS), two separate objects entered
the Earth's atmosphere. The AMS posted screenshots on its website showing
the fireball streaking across the sky. The fireball was best visible in
Maine, but nearly 700 reports also poured in from eight neighboring states
and two Canadian provinces (Ontario and Quebec).

The Maine Mineral and Gem Museum of Bethel, Maine, offered $20,000 to
anyone who can find the first chunk of the meteorite that weighs at least
a kilogram (2.2 lbs.). That meteorite, once confirmed, will be put on
display in the museum's Meteorite Hall.

"It's clear that the meteoroid entered Earth's atmosphere over Maine and
its terminal explosion occurred about 30 kilometers [18.6 miles] west
of Rangeley, Maine, in Franklin County," the museum wrote in the press

"This is an exciting opportunity, and we need the public's help," Museum
Director Barbra Barrett said in the statement. Coincidentally, the museum
is working on implementing a statewide network of cameras to capture fireballs
and better pin down their locations. The network will be ready in 2017,
the museum said.

Fireballs occur when small objects (such as space rocks) break up high
in the Earth's atmosphere. In this case, the fireball was too small to
pose a threat to people or property. A much larger object caused broken
glass and injuries after crashing down in Chelyabinsk, Russia, in February

A meteor is a small space rock that streaks through Earth's atmosphere
as a dazzling fireball. Meteoroids are small objects in space, while any
pieces that reach the Earth are called meteorites.

Most meteors burn up before reaching the ground. Periodically, the Earth
goes through a dust cloud left behind by a comet, which produces a series
of meteors known as a meteor shower.

Editor's note: If you captured an awesome photo of Tuesday's meteor and
would like to share it with Space.com and our news partners for a story
or gallery, send images and comments in to Managing Editor Tariq Malik
at: spacephotos at space.com. If you believe you have found a piece of a
meteorite from the fireball, you can contact the Maine Mineral and Gem
Museum at (207) 824-3036 or bbarrett at mainemineralmuseum.org.

Received on Fri 20 May 2016 07:08:25 PM PDT

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