Fireball Sightings: Jan. 17, 2009
Readers, if you witnessed or photographed this event,
please submit a report.
On Jan. 17, 2009, at 1909 UT, a meteoroid of unknown size hit Earth's
atmosphere over Scandinavia and exploded with a thunderous, rumbling
boom. The fireball was so bright it turned the nighttime sky blue:
Click to play
The movie was recorded by an automated video camera belonging to
Roger Svensson in Sweden. Jacob Kuiper of the Dutch National Weather
Service says the phones at his offices were ringing off the hook.
"The Dutch Coast Guard has been overwhelmed with eyewitness
reports, sometimes 20 phone calls in a few minutes." Observers
reporting to the Danish astronomy web site Astronomibladet say the
fireball's brightness exceeded that of a full Moon; early evening
drivers "could not help noticing it, despite being blinded
by the opposite traffic."
Comments: Torben Höjholdt sends this
movie from his home in Denmark where a standard webcam (not
the low-light variety) recorded the flash from his driveway. The
fireball itself is not shown; it was on the other side of the sky.
Dutch National Weather Service
Comments: General aviation meteorologist Jacob
Kuiper: "The Dutch Coast Guard has been overwhelmed with eyewitness
reports, sometimes 20 phone calls in a few minutes. People along
the whole North Seacoast reported the sighting. It was a lucky shot
that parts of the Netherlands were situated in a cloudless gap between
2 frontal systems shown in this
satellite image made at 1900 UTC, just 9 minutes before time
of fireball's appearance."
were a lot of car drivers in The Netherlands reporting the phenomenon,
especially drivers on roads in the Netherlands oriented SW-NE. One
of these roads is the famous 'Afsluitdijk' connecting the west part
of the Netherlands to the north-eastern part. The orientation of
this long and completely straight road was used by the drivers to
tell where they saw the meteor. It was located exactly in the direction
where the road reached the horizon--"just like it landed at
the end of the Afsluitdijk," they said."
Using this information and other sightings Kuiper has made a preliminary
estimate of where the fireball cut through the atmosphere--at the
intersection of the arrows in this Google Earth map:
Comments: Asger Ellekrog: "Living in the southern
part of Denmark, my wife and I - as well as many many other danes/scandinavians,
were witnesses to the fireball. Though we saw it indirectly, as
we were painting the first floor of our house, a little past 8pm
local time. Suddenly a bright bluish light was flashing through
the windows - bright as daylight. It lasted only three-four seconds.
What the hell was that?? my wife asked, my first thought
was a lightning-flash, but since we heard no thunder within the
first 10-20 seconds, it couldn't be lightning. The extreme brightness
of the flashes, made us conclude, that it could possibly have been
a meteor. Then one-two minutes after the flashes, we heard a deep
distant rumble, not very loud, but it lasted five to eight seconds.
Likely connected to the flashes."
"A few hours later, we saw the video from the Swedish security-camera.
A very impressive experience, though a little scary, my wife thought."
special note: A few minutes before the meteor appeared, danish television
began the opening-celebration of a brand new concert hall. Among
the invitees was the royal family, members of the danish government,
celebrities and so on. Due to its design, the new concert hall is
often referred to, as 'The Meteor'..."
Comments: Lars Kristian Larsen: "I did not
see the fireball, but I did see the night sky illuminated bright
blue for 2-3 seconds."
Comments: Toby Rutland: "I'm about 50km north
of Gothenburg and saw the bright blue flash through the living room
window. It was almost definitely to the south and was at least as
bright as close lightning but I didn't notice any sound. Wish I'd
Jobse at Oostkapelle in the southern Netherlands runs an all sky
camera and captured the fireball very low in north eastern direction:
news reports and videos: #1,
All rights reserved.