December 30, 2013
1,000 Report Seeing Fireball Over Iowa And Minnesota
[ Watch the Video: Possible Meteor Seen In Parts Of The US ]
redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports – Your Universe Online
According to Adam Withnall of The Independent, eyewitnesses reported that the object was approximately as bright as the sun, and was visible shooting across the sky for several seconds before it suddenly appeared to break apart.
The ball of light was also reportedly emitting sonic activity similar in nature to previously confirmed meteor sightings, Withnall added. While it is believed that it was indeed a meteor, that has not yet been officially confirmed.
The American Meteor Society (AMS) confirmed that they had received 1,050 reports of fireball sightings from both Iowa and Minnesota at approximately 5:45pm Central time. Those reports, all of which were submitted within 24 hours of the event, make the incident the third most reported since the organization launched its online reporting system.
NWS official Kurt Kotenberg confirmed to the Des Moines Register that his agency had also received reports of the fireball, and caught video of it on a camera in Iowa City, but believes that there is another explanation for the phenomenon.
“We’re looking at the reports, also. The interesting thing about it, Venus was visible in the sky just after sunset,” Kotenberg said. He added that the NWS would be unable to determine the exact cause of the fireball because it was located in the upper atmosphere. The agency would not be providing an official report on the incident because the object that was observed was “not a weather phenomenon,” he added.
University of Iowa physics and astronomy professor Steven Spangler added that December is not a “prominent meteor shower time,” but that “sporadic meteors” can occur at any time.
Likewise, Joe Wright, operations Director at the University of Missouri-Kansas City’s Warkoczewski Public Observatory, told reporters that the fireball sighting “totally caught us off guard, just like the one in Russia and the one over Arizona.” He added that, despite their best efforts, he and his colleagues “can’t see every direction every minute of the day and night.”
On August 28, a massive fireball brighter than the moon was visible in northern Georgia and Tennessee during the early morning hours. The event was caused by a meteor said to be approximately two feet in diameter, 100 pounds in weight and traveling at speeds of more than 56,000 miles per hour.
Nearly a month later, shortly after 9pm CST on September 21, a green ball of light was observed by people as far north as Meridian, Oklahoma to as far south as San Antonio, Texas. The AMS received 76 reports of that event, and witnesses claimed that the fireball was quite large and appeared to be very close to the Earth.