Alert – High Confidence Meteorite Fall in Northeast Ohio

Bill Cooke of the NASA Meteoroid Environments Office sent the AMS an alert today about a recent fireball event in Ohio. This event was captured on the University of Western Ontario’s fireball network and might have also been caught on doppler radar returns.

Bill wrote:

On August 8 at 1:22 Eastern Daylight Time, 4 all sky cameras belonging to the Southern Ontario Meteor Network detected a fireball entering the atmosphere 54 miles above Lake Erie (80.944 W, 41.945 N), moving SSE at 25 km/s (55,900 mph). Decelerating rapidly, the meteor was last tracked north of Gustavus (80.667 W, 41.411 N), moving at approximately 10 km/s. Altitude at this point was 38 km (23.6 miles). There is high confidence that this meteor produced meteorites, based on the following indicators:

(1) Deep atmospheric penetration (last tracked to 38 km altitude before it passed out of camera field of fiew. It certainly went deeper)
(2) Significant deceleration
(3) There was a doppler radar signature (KCLE) 2-3 minutes after the event, which indicates debris falling through the atmosphere

Darkflight calculations yield results consistent with the dopper returns. Calculated impact locations as a function of mass are:
1 gram: 80.5027 W, 41.3824 N
10 grams: 80.5163 W, 41.3379 N
100 grams: 80.5158 W, 41.2910 N
1 kilogram: 80.5074 W, 41.2440 N

Brightness/infrasound measurements put the meteor mass in the 10 kilogram range. Fragments are anticipated to be less than 100g in mass.

Attached graphics include a composite of the meteor as seen by the Orangeville camera, a map showing the darkflight impact locations, and a segment from the KCLE radar with the meteor begin and end points labeled.

It is requested that anyone finding fragments of this meteorite note the location of the find and contact this office. Please observe the wishes and rights of all property owners.

Bill Cooke
Lead, NASA Meteoroid Environments Office
EV44, Marshall Space Flight Center

Here is a composite image of the meteor.

Composite Image of August 8th, 2011 Ohio Fireball

Here are videos of the meteor captured from three different locations. The meteor event occurred on the outer reaches of the UWO network, and looks relatively small and appears near the horizon.

Here is a map of the estimated impact locations.

Estimated Impact Locations

Here is a picture of possible meteorite related doppler radar returns.

Doppler Radar - August 8th, 2011

There is a good chance meteorites may have reached the ground. Anyone interested in looking for meteorites should know that meteorites are the property of the landowner where the meteorites fell. Do not trespass on land you do not own. Do not hunt meteorites without landowners permission. If you want to search for meteorites, make sure you talk to the landowner and ask for his permission before looking!

About Mike Hankey

Mike Hankey is a software developer, entrepreneur, amateur astronomer, astrophotographer, meteor observer and meteorite hunter. Mike's enthusiasm for meteors led him to the American Meteor Society where he volunteered his time and the services of his software development company to redesign the AMS website and fireball reporting tool. In 2011 Mike was awarded the society's C.P. Olivier award for his work. In 2012 Mike was promoted to the role of Operations Manager. Mike and his company continue to maintain and enhance the AMS website and fireball reporting tools. You can see Mike's photography work and read more of his posts on his astronomy blog: MikesAstroPhotos.com. Mike can be contacted at mike.hankey [AT] gmail.com
9 Responses
  1. Any reports of meteorites on the ground yet?

  2. It’s about 15 miles from me. I haven’t heard anything in the local news yet. I might take a ride up there this weekend.

  3. 21AUG11; found a very heavy “rock”, NNW of estimated impact zone, on the roadside of a public roadway. it resembled
    a simple large rock, but is very heavy and dense, and has “craters within craters” on the surface. the physical size can
    only be described as the size of a small mango or Haas avocado. it’s outside the theoretical impact zones and a little
    larger than stated expectations, but a magnet does hold to it in one location of obvious oxidation. and, it was unlike the
    other rocks in the immediate vicinity.

  4. Joe Hunter says: August 21, 2011 at 5:42 pm

    ‘craters within craters’ is generally a sign of man made slag. These ‘craters’ or vesicles are a sure sign of meteor wrong.

    A meteorite would be smooth, black and would have a fusion crust on all or part of it.

  5. I found something strange, My husband joked and told me about the meteor in our area and i started to google. I found nothing, lost interest and forgot about it…when cleaning today i ran across my little stash pile of rocks and started looking again for info on who to call to find out about them. Thay are a shiny black hubby said it was coal but its not :)
    Thay when in a little pit in my driveway like it landed hard and broke in about 5 pieces…

  6. Boyd T. Douglass says: September 28, 2011 at 10:31 am

    I found an object about the size of my thumb nail , its shaped like a turttle with his head sticking out of the shell ,its color is kind of greyish blackish and has a very strong magnetic draw . the crust was chiped off the end of the nose of the turttle reveling a very hi shine . it also has two small craters . it looks like i may have been in its path, dono .

    • I must remind everyone that the American Meteor Society does not deal with meteorites in any capacity. We are limited to offering information and listing data on observing meteor showers, meteors, and fireballs in the sky. We would suggest contacting one of the many reputable groups/individuals listed on the web that deal specifically with meteorites. The first contact I would suggest would be the Meteorites Section of the Association of Lunar and Planetary Observers. Their web site is: http://alpo-astronomy.org/meteorite/

      Clear Skies!

      Robert Lunsford
      Operations Manager
      American Meteor Society

      • Boyd T. Douglass says: October 11, 2011 at 12:29 pm

        point well taken ! Mike Hankey was very hepfull to me in the testing of a possible meteorite frag . Thanks mike its time to move on .

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