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9/14/2007

Huge Fireball Streaks Across New Mexico

Breaking Earth News
From Spaceweather.com
NEW MEXICO FIREBALL:
On Sept 13th at approximately 3 o'clock in the morning MDT, an extremely bright fireball streaked over New Mexico, "It was terrifying," says eyewitness Susan K. Burgess. "I was stargazing outside my house near Santa Fe when the landscape started becoming very bright, as if a brilliant full moon was quickly rising from the southwest. The fireball itself [slowly moved] over the house and disintegrated with a great deal of scatter in the northwest sky."

At the Sandia National Labs in Albuquerque, a Sentinel all-sky video camera captured the fireball in flight:

Click to view the complete movie.

Based on data from the video, the visual magnitude of the fireball was -14.6, about four times brighter than a full Moon!

"The fireball was a pure emerald green, uncomfortably bright to look at," adds Harald Edens located in the Magdalena Mountains west of Socorro, NM. "The object was disintegrating when I saw it, with pieces parallel-tracking and trailing the fireball. Those smaller pieces had all different colors--most notably red. I think it has been a piece of space junk."

Amateur radio astronomer Thomas Ashcraft not only photographed the fireball, but also recorded echos of a distant radio station bouncing off the meteor's ionized trail: movie. "This fireball turned night into day!" he says.

Stay tuned for updates.

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