Portland Local News

 

Fireball streaks over Northwest

Fireball streaks over Northwest

A fireball moved across the Northwest at 5:55 a.m. Wednesday.  Witnesses say it was brighter than the Moon and travelled from the east to west.  There was no sonic boom, which means it probably did not land nearby. It was described as blue and white in color.  CLICK HERE for a link to witness reports.

This information is from Jim Todd, OMSI Director of Space Science Education:

The American Meteor Society webpage (http://www.amsmeteors.org/)  has the complete listing of the fireball reported from this morning.  Anyone who witnessed the fireball can log in for the report.  Once the sighting is confirmed, the report gets processed and a map get created of the fireball.

A fireball is another term for a very bright meteor, generally brighter than magnitude -4, which is about the same magnitude of the planet Venus in the morning or evening sky. A bolide is a special type of fireball which explodes in a bright terminal flash at its end, often with visible fragmentation.

If you happen to see one of these memorable events, we would ask that you report it to the American Meteor Society, remembering as many details as possible. This will include things such as brightness, length across the sky, color, and duration (how long did it last), it is most helpful of the observer will mentally note the beginning and end points of the fireball with regard to background star constellations, or compass direction and angular elevation above the horizon.

Several thousand meteors of fireball magnitude occur in the Earth’s atmosphere each day. The vast majority of these, however, occur over the oceans and uninhabited regions, and a good many are masked by daylight. Those that occur at night also stand little chance of being detected due to the relatively low numbers of persons out to notice them.

Additionally, the brighter the fireball, the more rare is the event. As a general thumb rule, there are only about 1/3 as many fireballs present for each successively brighter magnitude class, following an exponential decrease. Experienced observers can expect to see only about 1 fireball of magnitude -6 or better for every 200 hours of meteor observing, while a fireball of magnitude -4 can be expected about once every 20 hours or so.

 

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