Last night (Sept. 21st) around 09:01 pm MDT, a dazzling fireball glided across the skies of New Mexico and west Texas. “We’ve been getting a lot of calls in the newsroom about an object – maybe a meteorite – falling from the sky,” says Peter St. Cyr of KOAT TV in Albuquerque. An all-sky camera outside Santa Fe caught the object in flight. Click on the image to launch a 5 MB movie:


Note: In the movie, the stationary light is the full Moon, the moving light is the fireball.

“It took 23 seconds to cross the sky and was nearly as bright as the full Moon,” says Thomas Ashcraft, who operated the camera. “The fireball made a sonic boom loud enough to be heard inside above fan noise and household din. At first I thought it was thunder.”

After passing over New Mexico, the fireball apparently continued on to Texas. “At 10:05 pm CDT, my wife and I witnessed a slow moving fireball coming from the west,” reports Matthew Byrd of Amarillo. And then a second fireball appeared: “About 7 or 8 min later we saw another fireball moving in the same direction directly over Amarillo. It was bright white and shedding white sparks.”

US Space Command reports no satellites or pieces of space junk decaying at the time of the sightings. This was probably a random meteoroid–and maybe two–disintegrating in Earth’s atmosphere.

The article is reproduced in accordance with Section 107 of title 17 of the Copyright Law of the United States relating to fair-use and is for the purposes of criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research.

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