Large Fireball Event Reported 4/6/11

- 42 Comments - In:

We are recieving reports about a large fireball seen at 20:30 CDT from AL, TN, KY, MD, OH and AR. Here is a map of the plots from the reports recieved so far.

Fireball - April 6th, 2011

Based on current reports it looks like the termination point of the event was south east of Louisville, Kentucky.

The event was captured by the NASA Allsky Camera Network. Below is a picture of the fireball, video and more information will follow once the data has been analyzed.

Fireball April 6, 2011 - (c) 2011 NASA MEO EV44

If you witnessed this event, please submit a fireball report and leave a comment below. We will update this post as more information becomes available.

UPDATE APRIL 7th, 2011:

The AMS continues to receive reports on this fireball event. Analysis of these plots suggests a termination point near the border of Kentucky and Tennessee, possibly near Cooksville TN. Below is an updated map of the current witness reports.

Revised Plots of TN Fireball

Below are videos captured from two of NASA’s cameras:

Bill Cooke and his team at the Meteoroid Environmental Office have plotted the trajectory using three cameras. Their model places the end point of the meteor at 36KM altitude 3-4 KM SSW of Dowelltown TN. Below is a map of the trajectory.

Tennessee Meteor Track - April 6th, 2011

Bill was optimistic about the chances of a meteorite hitting the ground:

Last night (April 6) at 8:21:57 CDT (9:21:57 EDT), NASA all-sky meteor cameras located at the University of Tennessee Space Institute (in conjunction with the Hands-On Science Center in Tullahoma, Tennessee) and at the Walker County Science Center in northwest Georgia detected a very bright fireball moving north across the state of Tennessee. First detected 52 miles above the Arnold Air Force base near Tullahoma, the meteor was brighter than crescent Moon and was approximately 2 feet in diameter, with a weight of 200 lbs. It was last recorded 30 miles above the town of Woodbury, Tennessee, moving at a speed of approximately 9 miles per second (32,400 mph).

The NASA Meteoroid Environment Office has reasonable confidence that some fraction of this meteor survived to the ground as one or more meteorites. Calculations are underway to determine the general impact location, which may lie close to the Kentucky border. Eyewitnesses to the fireball are encourage to make a report to the American Meteor Society ( or to the Meteoroid Environment Office.

More information will be forthcoming at the completion of the impact zone calculations, which may take some time. The orbit indicates that this interloper was from the Asteroid Belt, with an aphelion well beyond the orbit of Mars.

Note: A 3rd NASA camera, located at the Tellus Science Center in Cartersville, Georgia, also recorded this event low on the northern horizon. This data is being used to refine the trajectory determination.

Bill also shared a dark flight model estimate.

Dark Flight Model For TN Fireball - Provided by Bill Cooke NASA MEO

Visit NASA’s Meteoroid Environmental Office and their fireball page to learn more about the All Sky Camera program.


  • deborah 6 years ago

    My family and I had seen it at about 19:30 texas time we are in fredericksburg texas and live out in the country. From what we could see is it moved about half an inch every 5 minutes!

    Reply to deborah
  • Sharon 6 years ago

    I was facing East outside with my portable TV trying to get better reception in Madison, AL. I saw slightly to the NE a beautiful fireball and was awestruck. It looked like 3 balls of fire and seemed to change colors as it fell. It had blues and greens.

    Reply to Sharon
  • a 6 years ago

    I saw a yellow-orange fireball that appeared to be slowing falling northeast on AL I-65 at exit 282 around 2030 last night.

    Reply to a
  • Shannon Lunn 6 years ago

    Chattanooga, TN-
    You don’t see that everyday!
    But I am glad I witnessed it last night.

    Reply to Shannon
  • Steven 6 years ago

    I saw it. I live in the Bellvue community in West Nashville, TN near the Davidson/Cheatham county border. It was by far the largest meteor I’ve ever seen. It was pulsating various colors – mostly green & white. My perspective was it was traveling in a northeasterly direction and not what looks like a very North/South track on the map provided. It left a wide, very visible contrail across the night sky which drifted in the night sky, but was still visible after 20 minutes.

    Very cool.

    Reply to Steven
  • Sheri Tittle 6 years ago

    My family and I saw this while sitting in the backyard! It was a green fireball and vizible for about 3-5 seconds. It was really low and really amazing! It think it was headed NorthEast.

    Reply to Sheri
  • Luis Sanhueza 6 years ago

    Hi, this fire ball events actualy have any relationchip with 2011 GP28 Apr 6 0.2 LD — 6 m , sorry me horrible enlish.
    My questions is ¿are any relationchip betuine this report and the 2011 GP28 Apr 6 0.2 LD ? many thanks.
    bye from chile
    the comet Luis.

    Reply to Luis
  • richard 6 years ago

    i was traveling on us 41 near resaca , ga. saw a aqua blue -green- orange oval going south to north, no visable trail. low on the western horizen. very high rate of speed

    Reply to richard
  • john lentz 6 years ago

    saw it traveling north east 3.30 am in montana– is this the same one?

    Reply to john
  • Greg Williams 6 years ago

    I was talking to my Stepmom Wednesday when I saw the TN Fireball. It was moving so slow I thought it was space junk re-entering the atmosphere!

    It moved from south-north, left a long plasma trail, was yellow-orange then flared to a bright green before disappearing. It passed through the Orion constellation, and below the crescent moon rising. Due to cloud cover I couldn’t tell if it was continuing further or if it burned up somewhere over middle Tennessee.

    I calculated it might have gone over Crossville or Jamestown, TN based on my observations.

    My coords: 35.967543,-84.025064

    PS: Does this mean the “Meteorite men” are on their way???

    Reply to Greg
  • Kaye Kiker 6 years ago

    I was sitting on my back deck after 8 P.M. Central in NE Alabama. We live in a rural area of DeKalb County on top of Lookout Mountain. I saw what I thought was one of the two near earth asteroids that passed between the earth and the moon on April 6th as posted on When the object was overhead, it was a bright white streak, but as it approached the north, it seemed to enlarge and was green in color. The sky was clear and there were no electric lights to affect my vision. The object was a bit east of me and heading northward.

    Reply to Kaye
  • Kaye Kiker 6 years ago

    I made a mistake in my statement in the last sentence. The object was a bit “WEST” of me not east. Sorry.

    Reply to Kaye
  • Andre 6 years ago

    I was strolling in downtown Huntsville on Wednesday night (4/6/11) between 8 and 9 pm when I saw a very bright ball moving across the sky, towards the northeast. It was visible for about 2 seconds after I noticed it. I was surprised by its brightness; considering the light pollution downtown, I wouldn’t have expected to see a shooting star.

    Reply to Andre
  • Lisa Howard 6 years ago

    I saw the fireball last night around 8:30 PM. I was inside the house in Arab, AL the screen door was open facing ENE. A beautiful brilliant and colorful fireball streaked across the sky, I had no idea it was a meteor. I just made a
    wish on a shooting star.

    Reply to Lisa
  • Micheline Gahagan 6 years ago

    I saw the fireball around 9:00 in Knoxville TN. It looked huge! It was a large orb with a long tail that was floating in an arc acoss the sky just beneath the moon. It was heading from the south northwards. It was so slow and beautiful. I was driving so I didn’t see the colors specifically. It just looked like a huge white glowing orb with a long arching tail like a rainbow.

    Reply to Micheline
  • Shawn Ward 6 years ago

    I had come outside sometime between 8-9 pm on Wed. the 6th and noticed the fireball looking east towards the moon. I live in Knoxville TN. It was very bright and colorful fireball. It was unlike anything I have ever seen before.

    Reply to Shawn
    • Shawn Ward 6 years ago

      Correction in my statement about the fireball, I was looking WEST towards the moon NOT east.

      Reply to Shawn
  • Pete 6 years ago

    I saw it in Auburn, looking NNE, it was bright green for me, as well as for my mom in birmingham who happened to see it at the same time while on the phone with me. approximately 8pm for us

    Reply to Pete
  • SOPHIE TURNR 6 years ago

    I saw that fireball
    I Made a report on here. Yes it was BRIGHTER THAN THE moon. I will always remember it, i am glad i know what I saw now. Thought I was losing it for a minute
    It was a sight to see, a real beauty.

    Reply to SOPHIE
  • Michelle Curl 6 years ago

    I saw it about that time, 9ish EST, from Knoxville, TN. I saw it just before it passed under the crescent moon which was in the west (northwest maybe) from where I was. Its trajectory from where I saw it was that of passing through, or originating from, the constellation Orion and passing under the crescent moon toward the horizon. I can’t remember at what point I saw it. I think it was somewhere between the moon and Orion and I know (believe) that it came from that direction because of its trajectory. At its peak, it had a wide tail, and its size appeared to be about an eighth of the size of the moon. The outline of the moon could be seen at that time. I’m pretty sure it disappeared from my view (that is, appeared to burn itself out or leave our atmosphere) before it could have reached the horizon or anything such as a building or tree could have obstructed it from my view.

    Reply to Michelle
  • Amanda Spencer 6 years ago

    I’m pretty sure i saw a fire ball at around 9:35 pm on Saturday Night. I’m so glad i know what i saw, if this IS what i saw. It looked pretty close and looked like it was on fire so I’m assuming that it was a fireball.

    Reply to Amanda
    • Anita 6 years ago

      I saw the same thing around the same time in North STL county streaking across the northeastern sky. I say blue and red flames with a white tail.

      Reply to Anita
  • wasi 6 years ago

    im in st.louis missouri, it flew rite over my house, it was like the green lantern flying over..absolutely amazing

    Reply to wasi
  • Donna Salmon 6 years ago

    My daughters and I saw a hugh fireball at 12:48 am 4/10/11 in the northern sky in Batavia NY. The tail was enormous.

    Reply to Donna
    • James Shank 6 years ago

      Saw that in Cheektowaga, NY too, while I was walking my dog. Only saw it for a couple seconds (Darn houses).

      Reply to James
      • Donna Salmon 6 years ago

        Besides the large fireball I saw a few summers ago during the day, this was by far the biggest brightest with the best tail I have ever seen. It was a cosmic night as we were traveling home from Detroit through Canada when we stopped in Cassablanca rest stop off the QEW. At the rest stop there were about 20 high powered telescopes set up and we got to view the moon and see saturn with the rings. It was such a cool night.

        Reply to Donna
    • john lentz 6 years ago

      ok i saw a fireball ,and reported it but it was around 3.30 am mt time , differentthan most posts,do they orbit and come around , all directions ,and discriptions and dates are the same , just different hours ?

      Reply to john
  • kim 6 years ago

    I saw a large green fireball with a ling tall low in the sky about 10:45 pm CST St. Louis MO

    Reply to kim
  • kim 6 years ago

    Amendment to previous comment spotted Saturday night April 9 10:45 PM large green fireball with a long tail low in the sky St. Louis MO

    Reply to kim
  • Susan 6 years ago

    I saw a large green light around 8:30 Wednesday evening 4/6/11, in Millersville, TN, which is northeast of Nashville.
    This was just above the treetops from my point of view, traveling northeast I think, and shaped like a teardrop lying on its side. It was a very bright and clear green, almost a blue-green, and it appeared to be so close to the earth! It was there for a few seconds, then vanished quickly. Thinking perhaps it was the glowing inside of a helecopter, I listened for sound, but there was none. I just didn’t consider that it could be a fireball or meteor, my thought was that this was angel passing over. It was stunning and unforgetable!

    Reply to Susan
  • Jerry Warner 6 years ago

    Not sure of exact time, close to 10pm? Doug Slauson and I at Pal-Dows
    Eastern Iowa Observatory & Learning Center saw the largest fireball I have ever seen in 60+ years come out of the SE horizon, passed near Saturn, and
    continued clear across the dome of the sky headed NWW and was still going
    as it met that horizon! HUGE-WIDE-LOW? Yellowish white. Could see undulations in the vapour trail which was huge-wide. Very bright but not white
    brilliant. Much much larger and longer lasting that the Wisconsin fireball seen
    last year but not a brilliant. We were stunned!

    Reply to Jerry
  • jenny 6 years ago

    I saw a meteorite fly over my house last night. It was pretty amazing. It was pretty low. I live in Ames, Iowa happened around 10:30pm last night 4/11/11.

    Reply to jenny
  • :Lisa Ward 6 years ago

    I live in Lenoir City,tn. just outside of west knoxville and I was lying in my bed, petting my dog, when I saw a green ball with a short tail go flying across the sky and right out of my line of sight. but for the couple of seconds that i saw it, i was in awe, it is now clear in my memory.

    Reply to :Lisa
  • robert pihl 6 years ago

    We saw a huge blue-green fireball at 10:55pm on 04/09/2011 bright as a sparkler, vanish behind the trees into bever dam state park il. We were very close at this point . It must have been made up of nickel. From our point of view it was the size oh a bulldozer.

    Reply to robert
  • Laura 6 years ago

    Saw a very bright and low meteor over Sarasota, FL at about 10:05 pm heading due north and seemed to be over the water ~ burned brighter as it got lower, glowing blue white as it seemed to disappear below the trees.

    Reply to Laura
  • Greg Brown 6 years ago

    I was stargazing approximately 10 miles south of Lamont, Florida (25 mis. east of Tallahassee) April 29, 2011. The time was about 10:00 p.m. local. I was peering at a star chart when the entire country side lit up with an erie green light. My immediate reaction was someone had fired a military flare. I was facing south and turned quickly to the north to see a bright greenish object streaking horizontally from west to east at a moderate speed approximately 20 degrees above the horizon. The angular distance it followed during the time I observed it was about 30 degrees. The object left a greenish trail and was at least half the diameter of a full moon. It disappeared behind a tree line. It took less than 5 seconds from my initial response to it disappearing. It was a spectacular sight, but I assumed it was man-made. However, a colleague at work said he saw it too in Tallahassee. With a Sarasota sighting of a similar object at the same time, I thought I’d post too.

    Reply to Greg
    • Jason Hoffman 6 years ago

      I seen the same thing in White Springs Florida. I am not certian of the time amybe around 10:00pm. I went outside to have a smoke, out of nowhere I see the tops of the pine trees/sky/everything lightup and start flashing like there was a huge electrical storm in the distance. It went on for about 10-15 seconds before it dawned on my what it might be. I was looking east. It was coming from the west/northwest. By the time I looked up towards the morth I caught the last few seconds of it. It was unlike any meteor I had ever seen. It was huge, lighting up everything on the ground, etc. It seemes to be breaking up, and sorta went out at the end. It was at about 60 degrees from my point of view, I assumed it was headed toward the Atlantic ocean. This was a big one like you would see on Meteorite Men on TV. I have been watching the sky since I was a kid, never anything like this before, wow!!

      Reply to Jason
  • Jason 6 years ago

    Jason here again. Just went outside and it was more like at 30 degrees up from the ground or so from my point of view, not what I said ^^^. White Springs is directly inbetween Tallahassee and Jacksonville Florida, and I am about 25 miles south of the Georgia border. The fireball event I am speaking of here is the April 29th 2011 event. It was very cool, and I am not the only one that seen it obviously!!!

    Reply to Jason
  • Gary 6 years ago

    In Massachusetts on May 29, about 845pm saw what was either a fireball, or a meteor in the north sky travelling SE to NW.
    It seemed rather low, or maybe it was just that large that it seemed low.
    It had the round ball on the front and the tail “coned” back with many brigh colors like blue green yello white. Very beautiful.

    Reply to Gary
  • james mitchell 6 years ago

    outside of winn dixie, at tavernier in the Florida Keys, waiting for a bus by the highway, and I look in the direction of north, and a meteor that looked like it was the size of a school bus going in the direction of east around 9:30. 9:40 and the front of it was bright green and all around it was very bright white. It traveled for about 5 or 6 seconds until it completely disappeared from my frame of view.

    Reply to james
  • Richard Walczyk 6 years ago

    I saw a falling fire ball in the western Michigan sky around 10 PM, Tuesday, the 4th , 2011. It was very bright, and didn’t look like it was in “space”, but looked to be in our atmosphere. It almost looked like a firework…Though I do not believe that is that it was. It was falling diagonally towards the ground. It burned up in the air. I have no idea what it was, but it was bright yellow, almost like a firework or a ball of flames.

    It was pretty cool, and very clear.

    Reply to Richard
  • Melissa Holder 6 years ago

    Just before 9 PM, I was traveling East on 131 near the intersection of I-75 just North of Knoxville, TN. The fireball was reddish-orange and appeared to be moving in a NNE direction. At first I though it was a plane attempting an emergency landing at a small airstrip near my location because of the smoke trail behind the bright light. It vanished suddenly, like the light was switched off. The smoke trail dissipated quickly.

    Reply to Melissa

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *