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The Mountain of Blue Fire

Nature has a way of continually surprising us and inspiring awe within us, and it seems there are just as many fantastical wonders t...

2/20/2008

Spectacular meteor lights up the morning

Oregon, USA
Spectacular meteor lights up the morning - Early risers report a shooting star ‘like an exploding firework’. Early risers across Clark County saw a meteor, described as blue or green in color, streak across the clear, dark sky around 5:30 a.m. Tuesday. The meteor passed from west to east, with news outlets across Washington, Oregon and Idaho reporting local sightings. “It started out way high in the sky, like a basic shooting star. As it traveled eastward and downward, it just started getting bigger and bigger. It went from white to bright green to white. It looked like it hit in the east, and it lit up the whole sky like sheet lightning.” A pilot saw the meteorite hit the Earth about 5:45 a.m. The pilot reported a flash and a burst of light near state Highway 26 and the Lind-Hatton Road in eastern Washington’s Adams County. But it’s RARE that a piece of space debris makes it through Earth’s atmosphere and smacks the soil. Even fireballs, larger meteors that appear brighter than the planet Venus, typically don’t make it through. “Nine out of 10 times, they burn up." If there’s a meteorite to be found, it will likely be a dense, iron-rich mass. The glowing green streak in the sky is a typical signature of an iron meteorite. “It was extremely bright and lit up the morning sky with its red, orange, yellow and green glow. To me, it looked like a huge fireball falling slowly from the sky.” Someone spots a fireball in this area about once per year, typically on clear winter nights. But those who spotted Tuesday’s meteor count it as a singular experience. “I think this is one of those once-in-a-lifetime events.”

VIDEO

The fireball
exploded not once but twice in midair, casting shadows and rivaling city lights. Many onlookers wondered if spy satellite USA 193 had been shot down. No, it was a small asteroid breaking up in Earth's atmosphere. Reports of meteorites hitting the ground remain unconfirmed.

Scientists Search for Meteor Impact Site in Oregon and Washington

Scientists Wednesday were trying to determine whether a fireball that streaked through the sky Tuesday morning landed in Oregon or Washington.

Portland State Professor Dick Pugh began interviewing witnesses who saw the meteor fall and is trying to establish a radius around a possible impact site. He said the chances of finding any remnants of the space rock are slim, but there's already evidence that something may have hit the ground.




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