The American Meteor Society hasÂ received nearly 250Â reports about a large fireball seen from the coast of California on October 17th, at approximately 7:44 PM Pacific time. Numerous witnesses reported hearing a series of loud booms.
John in Larkspur, CA writes:
“There were three consecutive booms that happened at least a minute later. Sounded like distant artillery fife or sonic booms.”
From Sarah in SanÂ Francisco:
“I heard a sonic boom that was came at least 1, possibly 2 minutes later.”
From Mathew in San Rafael, CA – United States:
“30 sec after the fireball went out, several very loud booms like medium sized thunder claps occurred followed by a long duration rumbling decay over another 30 sec.”
Many witnesses reported that the fireball fragmenting into multiple pieces.
While we are in the middle of the Orionid Meteor Shower and approaching the peak this weekend, this fireball has the signs of a meteorite dropping asteroidal meteor and not a fireball associated with a meteor shower. Generally cometary fireballs will vaporize high up in the atmosphere. The fact that this fireball was accompanied with sonic booms means the meteoroid penetrated the lower atmosphere — something not typically seen with cometary fireballs.
Here are two videos of the fireball:
The fireball appears in the video below at the 42 second mark.
Here’s a map of the witness reportsÂ receivedÂ so far.
In the above map, red icons represent movement left to right, while green means movement right to left. Green lines are the starting point of the fireball while yellow lines are the ending point.
If you witnessed this event, please fill out an official fireball report with the American Meteor Society.
Wes Jones in Belmont CA caught this awesome image of last night’s fireball over the San Francisco Bay Area, just before it entered the trees. Read more here: http://bit.ly/TxqD9e. The sky chart is a very rough quick and dirty manual plate solve based on the San Franscisco location and the time of the event. Please not the time of 22:45 is based on EST because stellarium works off the local time zone and I’m on the east coast. This should be adjusted for pacific time. Please alert me of any errors.