Fireball Sightings: Dec. 29, 2008
Readers, if you witnessed or photographed this event,
please submit a report.
North Bay Shore, New York
Comments: Dan Linek: "At approximately 2130
EST, I was sitting in a car and noticed a quick bright light right
in front of my eyes. It took me a couple of seconds to realize I
had just seen the brightest meteor of my life. It came out of the
eastern sky heading to the north about 20-30 degrees above the horizon
near the constellation Cancer. It was a bright blue color with a
hint of green and lasted about a half second to a full second. In
that short time, it seemed as though there were a few pieces falling
right below it but I do not think anything reached the ground. I
estimate it was about a -9 magnitude based on -8 magnitude Iridium
Satellite Flares I have seen."
"Almost twenty-four hours after the event," says Dan Linek,
"I have read through all of the eyewitness reports and have
created a hand drawn map of the locations of the reports along with
the direction the eyewitnesses reported the fireball to move in.
Through this method, I have plotted an area that seems most likely
to have been the location of the fireball when it exploded."
Comments: Joe Hanley: "I was driving due south
on Route 93 in southern New Hampshire at 9:30 p.m. EST when my wife
Mary and I saw what appeared to be a low and very bright shooting
star flying across the sky from the east towards the west. We were
amazed at the how low, bright and extended it was when it then burst
into colorful pieces, leaving a very quick and multi-colored trail."
Roslyn, New York
Comments: Bernadette of Glen Cove, New York: "Tonight
at 9:30 pm EST my husband and I were driving east on the expressway
in the town of Roslyn, NY. We couldn't help but see the brightest
meteor! I am sure it lasted more than 7 seconds. It was very bright
with a long tail. I feel I saw an orange color as well. This certainly
makes up for all those nights I have stared into the sky hoping
to see something an felt disappointed."
Comments: Steve Sauter: "I was driving East
on Rte. 9 in Cummington, Ma. on 12/29. My daughter and her fiance
were in the south passenger seats when both yelled, fireworks, whoa!
Sparks, a tail! They then described a huge kelly green ball of sparks,
"falling straight to the ground with a tail of green sparks
stretching up and to the left (east). Extremely bright, large. This
should mean a landing around Windsor, Ma."
Comments: Andy Stearns: "Wow! At approximately
9:30PM local time I witnessed a very bright fireball against a clear
starlit sky. It initially appeared between 45° and 60° above
the southern horizon and approximately 90° above the eastern
horizon. It was traveling west. Unfortunately, my house obstructed
my view at about 45° on the western horizon. The core of the
fireball was distinctly green with a very bright white trail. There
may have been some blue fringes. Although the view became obstructed
by my house, there was about 2 seconds where the western sky was
illuminated by the meteor's travel west. This illumination was terminated
by a green flash that lit up the entire western quadrant of the
sky. My impression was that the fireball exploded, but unfortunately,
I could not witness any fragmenting or the actual explosion due
to my obstruction. From first observation until the explosion was
about 4 seconds (no more than 5). I've witnessed thousands of meteors
over my 43 year lifetime including 1 meteor burst several years
ago (which was brilliant white). This ranks #1 to me due to the
intensity of the light, the brilliant green color, and the green
flash it produced over the western horizon."
Perry Hall, Maryland
Comments: Dan Dutrow: "While driving home
tonight around 9:30 PM, I saw something I've never seen before.
While headed North in Perry Hall, Maryland on I-95, I witnessed
a green flash of light rapidly falling away from me to the east.
It was either a rocket hurling towards Best Buy or a meteor flying
North over Perry Hall and into the horizon, hopefully the latter."
Comments: Edward W. Gould: "Last night, I
was in my backyard with one of our dogs, when I saw a bright flash
out of the corner of my eye. It lasted long enough for me to turn
and catch a glimpse of it as it shot low across the southern sky
traveling from east to west. It was a bright green ball with a long
tail. What struck me was both how bright it was and how low in the
sky it was, just visible above the tree and house lines. I thanked
my dog for having to go out to give me the opportunity to see it!"
Comments: Nicole Ricci: "I live in a very
small town in Southern Maine and went out around 9:30pm to let my
dog out and saw a orange ball fall from the sky."
Comments: Kris Moriarty: "My daughters and
I were on our way home at 9:30 pm last night when we saw a greenish
oblong shaped fireball in the sky. It was shooting down & had
a fiery orange tail. It then seemed to break apart as it came down.
We were driving on route 47 south in Sunderland, Ma. It was so neat!!!
Thanks for letting us know we weren't crazy & weren’t
the only ones who witnessed such a spectacular event!"
Coyle Field, Chatsworth, New Jersey
Comments: Jim Mack, Willingboro Astronomical Society:
"There were a number of observers at Coyle field last night
and you either saw the fire ball or saw the bright light from it.
After reading your article on the New England Fireball I put together
the night's events which leads me to beleive what we saw was the
same Fireball! While observing M42 thru my friend Mitch's new 24"
StarMaster we saw the Fireball looking towards the North East everything
lit up. Shortly afterward we packed up as clouds came in and went
home. When I was leaving, the clock in my car said 10:10."
Comments: Eric B Smith: "Was on my computer
Monday evening and saw the fireball out the window seeming to come
from ENE to WSW. Very bright. By the time I got outside it was gone."
Comment: Alison Anderson: "I was sitting indoors
at my computer, in front of a window, and saw a bright and large
ball flash across the sky at 9:30 pm. It went from SSE to S before
my view was blocked by a neighboring house. The fireball was bright
white, brighter than the moon (I could see it through my window,
despite reflections of indoor lighting), and its size was about
a quarter of a full moon. My viewing was very brief, perhaps only
one or two seconds."
Comments: Paul Siebols: "I was outside and
already looking at the constellation Orion when I saw an orange
streak heading approximately SW. After a momentary fade, it brightened
intensely. I did not see disintegration from my vantage point because
of trees, but the fireball origin was approximately in the Monoceros
or Lepus area between Sirius and Orion's Belt. It was a beautiful
sight to witness, and among the brightest I have seen."
Hope Valley Rhode Island
Comments: Bob Alexander: "Just before 9:30
PM, I was driving south near the local high school. I unfortunately
did not see the actual meteor, but i did see a very large area of
trees become lit up by the brightest blueish light I have ever seen.
It was simultaneously beautiful and mysterious. I was baffled at
what it could have been, but my daughter told me the next day that
she had witnessed the brightest meteor she had ever seen in her
life. Mystery solved. This website confirmed our sighting, thank
near Falmouth, Maine
Comments: Arthur C. Bowman: "Last night at
9:30 p.m. while traveling on 295 South between the Falmouth and
Portland Maine exits I noticed a low flying fireball that came from
the east and was heading west, this fireball was shooting down and
had a long fiery orange tail. Based on the low altitude of the fireball,
I thought for sure it would have crashed within close proximity
to the Portland area."
East Meadow, NY
Comments: Emily Rose Dijkstra: "I saw the
magnificent fireball in the sky! At about 9:30 PM (Eastern Time)
I walked out my front door (facing east) and when I looked up I
saw a very bright orange and blue streak in the sky, I stopped dead
in my tracks, and watched in awe for about 1 full second until it
slowly broke up and disappear ed... The front was large and bright
orange with a long blue tail... I have never seen such a bright
Comments: John Kocur: "At 9:30pm EST, I witnessed
the complete event. The sky was clear and I was admiring the beauty
of the constellations Orion and Canis Major. As I was checking the
number of stars I could see in the constellation Lepus, just below
Orion. I noticed a small point of light moving through Canis Major.
It started to increase in brightness and a meteor trail started
to form. It became red/orange in color then white with a green/blue
coma around it. The white core became intensely bright and some
fragments which looked like sparks were shed from above it as it
passed below Orion at which point in a brilliant flash, the bolide
lit up the southern sky a dark blue/green color, lit up the ground,
and silhouetted the tree line on the southern horizon. Duration
was about 3 seconds. I could feel my head track it's perfectly straight
path like watching a jet fly by at an airshow. This was the best
meteor I have ever seen in my life."
Big Flats, NY
Comments: Rich Copeland: "I was driving at
approximately 2130 EST and suddenly my daughter and I saw a bright
bluish-green light falling down from the sky. It fell for a couple
of seconds and then seemed to split in two like a downward V. The
two fragments then seemed to break up into smaller orange fragments
and then it disappeared. The fireball was fairly low in the sky,
maybe 20 or 30 degrees up. I was driving on a straight road and
it was directly in front of me. According to my GPS map software,
the direction I was traveling was 98 degrees true from Big Flats,
Comments: Ken Barlow: "I am the chief meteorologist
in Boston at the CBS affiliate and I saw the fireball last night
at around 930pm. I was driving out of Harvard Square with my son
and saw the fireball…even through the city lights. It was
simply the brightest meteor I have ever seen and it was spectacular.
I had phone calls from viewers telling me the same! Spectacular."
Comments: Margie Poznanski: "At about 9:30
PM on Monday, December 29 I was looking out the south facing window
of my home in Weare, NH. An extremely bright object, which appeared
to have a tail, was traveling from east to west heading toward the
ground at a steep angle. I lost track of it when it disappeared
below the treeline."
Maple Shade, New Jersey
Comments: Joe Stieber: "I was observing at
Coyle Field in the Pygmy Pines of south-central New Jersey (39 deg
49 min north, 74 deg 25 min west; 30 miles due north of Atlantic
City, NJ). I happened to be talking with someone at the time (appx.
9:30 pm EST on 29-Dec-2008) and was facing the northeast end of
the runway. I saw a blue-green ball trailing orange "sparks"
moving from the 2 o'clock to the 8 o'clock position. The path was
about 20 degrees long from when I first noticed it until it ended
about 10 degrees above the horizon and 30 degrees azimuth. At the
end, it broke up and extinguished abruptly. I estimated the peak
magnitude to be -8 to -10."
Comments: Linda Epstein: "I saw the fireball
with tail moving across the sky from East to West or Southwest.
It looked like it went under Orion's belt. I saw it for about 1
sec. before it disappeared behind the hill. My watch read 9:30 pm.
At first I thought it might have been some kind of firework, but
it was moving too fast. Also, there was no noise associated with
it, so I assumed (correctly, it seems) that it must have been an
object from space. I don't know anyone else that saw it. It was
Comments: Bob & Nick: "At approx. 9:30pm,
a friend and myself witnessed a large turqoise blue & white
sphere glowing beneath the Orion constellation. It maintained an
extreme level of brightness for approx. 3 seconds, before appearing
to lose it's shape, dissipating very quickly. What a gorgeous spectacle!"
Comments: Maggie Jones: "Last night about
9:30PM my husband and I were returning from our nightly walk through
town. As we turned up our driveway, an incredibly bright flash of
light made us stop in our tracks and turn around. We watched for
several seconds as an incredible greenish fireball travelled northeast
to southwest across the sky. The brightness was unbelievable, and
it startled us- like someone was shining a searchlight from up in
a tree. We are hoping it will be clear again tonight to view the
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