Four Major Fireballs within Ten Hours

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Germany, France, Ohio and Arizona

It was a busy night for the AMS and IMO (International Meteor Organization) that started early around 16:50 Universal Time (UT) with a fireball in the skies over Germany. Over 1180 witnesses reported to the AMS/IMO database within the first few hours of the event. Les than five hours later, near the weastern shores of France witness reported another significant fireball at 21:30 UT.

While excited fireball observers in Germany, France, Switzerland, Lichtenstein, Luxembourg and Italy were filling out their forms, two significant fireballs fell over the United States during the hours of 01:40 and 03:30 UTC. The first over Arizona and the second over Ohio.

In total the AMS/IMO collected, grouped and analyzed over 1320 witness reports spanning these 4 fireballs in the 10 hours that followed the events.

If you witnessed one of these events and/or if you have a video or a photo, please
Submit an Official Fireball Report

In French – In German – In Italian

If you want to learn more about Fireballs: read our Fireball FAQ.

Taurid or not Taurid: that is the question

Are the events related or simply coincidence. Could these events be part of the Taurid meteor shower which peaked this past Saturday? Associated with the comet Encke, the Taurids are actually two separate showers, with a Southern and a Northern component. Both branches of the Taurids are most notable for colorful fireballs and are often responsible for an increased number of fireball reports from September through November.

The first analysis conducted by former IMO president Dr. Juergen Rendtel of the Leibniz-Institut für Astrophysik Potsdam from the raw data shows that the events that occurred over Arizona and France cannot be linked to the Taurids: the Arizona event was moving from North-West to South-East while the French event was moving from North-East to South-West. However, the events over Germany and Ohio fit the Taurids direction (East->West) and the low inclination angle at the time of the sightings! Note that the East-West direction is related to the Taurids only because the fireball occurred in the local evening. Later in the night or towards the morning the direction is different, of course.

Nov 14th 16:48 UT – Blue Fireball over Germany

The fireball that flew over Germany on Nov 14th around 16:48 UT is the most reported fireball event from Europe since the AMS and the IMO launched the international version of the AMS fireball form. Translated in 31 languages, this form potentially allows the whole population of the globe to report such events. So far, we received over 820 reports about this event from at least 7 different versions of the form: not only from the AMS and the IMO versions but also from the forms we customized for local organizations such as the French Networks Reforme and Vigie-Ciel, the Swiss organization Fachgruppe Meteorastronomie, the german organization Arbeitskreis Meteore e.V. and even from the Italian Network PRISMA.

Below is the 3D trajectory of the event (available in KML format from the Event#4299-2017 page):

Event#4299-2017 – First 3D estimated trajectory

This event has been caught on several dash cams:

Nov 14th 21:32 UT over France

The French event occurred over the city of Bordeaux (West of France) and it has been reported so far from about 20 witnesses. This event has been caught on cam by the french camera network FRIPON that is a member of the citizen science project Vigie-Ciel and by the French allsky amateur network BOAM.

We should receive more details about this event anytime soon. As stated above, this event doesn’t seem like being part of the Taurid Meteor Shower. The event has been caught by 10 cameras of the French Network (Toulouse, Angers, Talence, Sabres, Carcassonne, Aurillac, Hendaye, Saint Bonnet Vert, Coulounieix-Chamiers and Mauroux).

Event#4312-2017 – First 3D estimated trajectory
Event#4312-2017 – Allsky Cam photo from BOAM (thank you to Tioga Gulon)

Nov 15th 03:28 UT over Arizona

The AMS received 85 reports so far about this event that occurred over Arizona. We didn’t receive reports only from Arizona but also from California, Nevada, Utah and New Mexico.

This event has been caught on at least two dash cams shared via the AMS Fireball report:

As stated above, the first estimated 3D trajectory doesn’t make this fireball a good candidate for the Taurid Meteor Shower. Traveling from North-West to South-East, the visible path of the fireball ended somewhere east of Happy Jack, AZ.

Event#4310-2017 – First 3D estimated trajectory

Nov 15th 01:49 UT over Ohio

We received 34 reports so far about this event that occurred over Ohio but was also reported from Michiga, Virginia, West Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee. Just like the German event, this fireball was travelling East to West. The first estimation of the 3D trajectory shows that the visible path of the fireball ended somewhere over Greenfield, OH.

Event#4311-2017 – First 3D estimated trajectory

Unfortunately, we didn’t receive any photo or video of this event yet. If you witnessed one of this event and/or if you have a video or a photo, please
Submit an Official Fireball Report.

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11 comments

  • Jeff Hodgden 1 month ago

    Location Tucson, AZ
    Time 2347 hours
    Direction SW to NE over Tucson
    I only saw one very bright. Color blueish-green with bright tail. Amazing to quick for a pic.

    Reply to Jeff
  • Taylor Jernigan 1 month ago

    At approximately 1:40 pm on yesterday (Tuesday) there was a large explosion heard over central Alabama. It’s being called the Bama Boom. So far unidentified but maybe related.

    Reply to Taylor
  • c esken 1 month ago

    I live in East Liverpool Ohio, my husband saw it About 9 pm

    Reply to c
  • Art 1 month ago

    I have heard the speed of sound breaking during the past days in daylight hours yet nothing is visible although it is a great distance away I have no doubt the comets hitting the earth at hundreds of thousands of mph. Can be heard halfway round the world many have been visible in Florida as expected .

    Reply to Art
  • Alan J 1 month ago

    I’m glad there’s a name for these things. We saw one in Silver Spring, Maryland as we passed the intersection of Collesville Road and New Hampshire Avenue on 11/15 at around 1:45am EST. It almost looked like a fireworks rocket on its way down. It was way too close (and bright) to be a shooting star. There was no sound when it would have hit the ground. We only saw it for a few seconds – not enough time to react and take a picture.

    Tried to use your website to record it, but the site was too complicated to use (at 2am 🙂

    Reply to Alan
  • Brian Tankersley 1 month ago

    Event was visible from between Albuquerque and Los Lunas, NM on Interstate 25. Burned green to blue to a white explosion at the end. Awesome.

    Reply to Brian
    • Bob and Heather 1 month ago

      My wife and I witnessed one about 5 years ago and it was one of them big slow movers that lit the sky as it came through the atmosphere, bluefish green in color, almost seemed to flash like lightning,about 4am there was a good sized group of people in Maryland that saw that event.We seen another meteorite out the corner of the windshield in the car,it flashed then broke up into like 4 separate chunks that withered off in different directions. They were both over Md. in the early morning hours through a clear sky with medium to high visability.

      Reply to Bob
  • Bob and Heather 1 month ago

    Seeing this “green dragon” meteor had a profound effect on us. We became star gazers, and amateur astronomers, lol. But really, it was so amazing to see up close, we will never forget it. Regular sky watchers only see something like that every 10-15 years.

    Reply to Bob
  • Susan 1 month ago

    Just saw a beautiful slow moving green orb float down and go over my house and fade out behind a tree, caught me off guard, there is a meteor shower tonight,

    Reply to Susan

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