Update: Monday Evening’s Fireball Over Alabama
Update: Tuesday afternoon Dr. Bill Cooke the lead of NASA’s Meteoroid Environment Office at Marshall Space Flight Center held a small news conference on Monday evening’s fireball, below is the story that aired at 5:00 pm on WHNT.
Monday Evening – September 9th
Reports started coming via social media shortly after 8:15 pm of a bright green object streaking across the sky, this object was a fireball (meteor brighter than the planet Venus). According to Dr. Bill Cooke, head of NASA’s Meteoroid Environment Office at Marshall’s Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, the fireball that streaked across Alabama’s sky Monday night was 15 times brighter than the planet Venus. Below is more information on the event from Dr. Cooke:
“Monday night, at 8:18 PM Central Time, a baseball size fragment of a comet entered Earth’s atmosphere above Alabama, moving southwest at a speed of 76,000 miles per hour. At such speeds, fragile cometary material will not last long – Just 3 seconds after hitting the atmosphere, the meteor disintegrated 25 miles above the town of Woodstock, producing a flash of light rivaling the waxing crescent Moon. Because it penetrated so deep into Earth’s atmosphere, sonic booms were produced, which were heard by some eyewitnesses”
According to Dr. Cooke, the meteor’s orbit extended beyond the orbit of Jupiter, similar to those of comets. It was also not a member of a known meteor shower. Below is an image showing the fireball captured on five of NASA’s cameras and a map showing the trajectory of the fireball south of Birmingham.
Expect the chance to see a fireball to increase during the upcoming weeks with the start of the Southern Taurid meteor shower. The Southern Taurid meteor shower started September 7th and last through November 19th, with its peak the night of October 8th-9th.
- Jennifer Watson
Facebook: Jennifer Watson WHNT