Fiery Meteorite Burns Up the Sky

Thursday night, a meteorite fell in Western Canada, burning up as it hit the Earth’s atmosphere, creating a brilliant flash over Alberta and Saskatchewan. Witnesses got to experience the brightest fireball the country has seen in over a decade. Fortunately for us non-Canadians, several video cameras captured the meteorite’s luminous fall.

The video below shows the fall as captured by a police dashboard camera in Edmonton, Alberta. The next step is for astronomers to search the region for the meteorite fragments, which are billions of years old and valuable for study:

The meteorite appeared in the sky around 5pm MT, and Alan Hildebrand, a planetary scientist said it was probably the largest to land in Canada in 12 years. And the object’s entry into the Earth’s atmosphere created an impressive display. According to the Globe and Mail:

Hildebrand says the meteor could likely be seen up to 700 kilometres away, into the northern United States. It contained about a tenth of a kiloton of energy when it entered the earth’s atmosphere, equal to 100 tons of the chemical explosive TNT.

“It would be something like a billion-watt light bulb.”

Besides sonic boom sounds, he said witnesses also reported hearing hissing or crackling noises like frying bacon. Fireballs can act as radio transmitters, Mr. Hildebrand said, causing odd sounds.

~ by Fionnlagh on November 23, 2008.

One Response to “Fiery Meteorite Burns Up the Sky”

  1. Cool footage.I saw a meteorite in 1972(i think)as it traversed across the sky in the afternoon.It was really cool too.I don,t have a clue as to the size but it must have been enormous.I thought it was a Jet on fire when i first saw it.Don,t know the speed it was traveling at either but it took two or three minutes from when i first saw it until it went out of sight.The reason i initially thought it was an aircraft on fire was i could see the flames licking behind it.The news cast about it said it was like three hundred miles away from where i was. And it must have been a long way up in the atmosphere.

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