fireball and meteor reports

Kentucky Fireball: Feb. 13, 2009
Readers, if you photographed this event, please submit a report.

Summary: On Friday, Feb. 13th, around 10:00 to 10:15 pm EST, people in central Kentucky heard loud booms, felt their houses shake, and some saw a fireball streaking through the sky. The nature of this event is still under investigation. Possibilities include a small asteroid or a piece of space junk entering Earth's atmosphere. National Weather Service reports that the fireball was debris from the Feb. 10th collision of Iridium 33 and Kosmos 2251 satellites may be premature.

Eyewitness Accounts:

Location: Morehead State University, Morehead, Kentucky
Comments: Daniel Graves, a space science major at MSU: "I was in Morehead at the time of the fireball, we were actually making observations of a distant AGN with our 21m radio telescope, and I had just stepped outside to check on cloud cover in the direction we were observing; clouds can attenuate the radio signal slightly, so we have to know where it is and compensate for it. When I saw the fireball I instantly assumed that it was debris. I've seen other satellite debris before (last years ASAT test in February). The coloring and sound matched nearly dead on. The fireball took about 7 seconds to cross the sky, rather slow compared to other things I've seen. It was definitely ablating material; it looked like a burning bright-white magnesium filament."

Location: Lexington, Kentucky
Comments: Bill Meck, WLEX-TV Chief Meteorologist: "About 10:00 est Friday night we began to receive several calls from people throughout central and eastern Kentucky of a loud boom which was strong enough to shake houses over an area about 30 miles wide centered near London Kentucky. What appeared to be either a fireball or a piece of satellite debris was seen as a blue/green streak across the sky from as far north as Paris and Lexington Kentucky…about 70 miles from London. An Emergency Manager in the area said the FAA confirmed it was satellite debris…but would like to have better confirmation. The reports also say it was on a more vertical trajectory compared to the normal 'shooting star.'"

Location: near Mt. Vernon, Kentucky
Comments: Connie Thompson: "Just to give you an update on the green light in the sky last night shortly after 10:00 I was driving home along US150 E just out of Mt. Vernon (in Rockcastle County), when the world appeared to explode - in green. For 2-3 seconds the enitre night sky was lit up with a strange green light. My first thought was any minute now, I'll see a mushroom cloud, but then I thought that is ridiculous. I kept telling my self that it was just lightening, but I have never seen green lightening. I didn't feel the earth shake, however that just happened to be the song playing on the radio at the time (haha). Please do keep us informed about what caused this strange event. "

Location: Jessamine County, 10 miles south of Lexington, Kentucky
Comments: Holly Heitter: "I live in Jessamine County and I did see a huge flash in the dark sky little bit after 10 pm last night. I was watching TV and then out of the blue, I saw a huge flash of light which made me jump and I was telling myself "what the heck? lightning from a clear dark sky?""

Location: Richmond, Kentucky
Comments: Dean Vencill, Captain, Richmond Fire and Rescue: "We were sitting at the firehouse at station 5 in richmond watching movies when this happened. I had my head laid back in a chair and all the sudden it shook twice like a percussion shock hit the building. I thought it was a earthquake also, so I ask one of the other firefighters if he felt that and he did too."

Location: Versailles, Kentucky
Comments: David Stephanski: "About 9:50 I saw the object streak through the southern sky. It looked like a large meteor or satellite, it did have a greenish tinge. The object was on a [nearly due south] path that looked like it would have taken it to Harrisburg or Danville.

Location: Mayking, Kentucky
Comments: Candace Philpot: "
Tonight, about 10:15 p.m., my son and I saw a blueish-green fireball in the sky. My husband said that it was probably just a shooting star, but it looked very different and did not shoot across the sky, rather it fell from the sky. It landed someone over our neighbor's home, probably somewhere up in the woods. We dismissed it after a few minutes of conversation, but this was definitely something to see. It was large and blueish-green; looked similar to a comet."

Location: Blooming Grove, Kentucky
Comments: Doug and Angie Hacker: "
At 10 pm I was turning onto my street when I saw what appeared to be lightning. I looked out my car window and as I did..I saw an oval shaped, bright white object going across the sky at an incredibly fast pace. I called my husband to tell him what I saw, and as I did..we both heard a loud 'Boom' in the distance. I'm not sure what it was...but we think it could've been a meteor. We live in the Blooming Grove area of Jackson County....."


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