fireball and meteor reports

New England Fireball Sightings: Dec. 29, 2008
Readers, if you witnessed or photographed this event, please submit a report.

Location: 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."

UPDATE: "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."

Location: New Hampshire
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."

Location: 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."

Location: Cummington, Massachusetts
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."

Location: Mansfield, Massachusetts
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."

Location: 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."

Location: Bangor, Maine.
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!"

Location: Maine
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."

Location: Sunderland, Massachusetts
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!"

Location: 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."

Location: Monson, Maine
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."

Location: Belmont, MA
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.

Location: Boxford, MA
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."

Location: 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 you."

Location: 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."

Location: 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 meteor!"

Location: Douglas, Massachusetts
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."

Location: 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, NY."

Location: Boston, Massachusetts
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."

Location: Weare, NH
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."

Location: 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."

Location: Arlington, MA
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 really cool!!!"

Location: Westchester, NY
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!"

Location: Mystic CT
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 Coma Berenicids."


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