Fast Fireball caught over Arizona on February 26th

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Nearly 50 reports so far

The AMS received nearly 50 reports so far about a fireball event that occurred over Arizona on February 16th, 2020 around 12:33 UT (05:33 MST). The AMS #2020-980 event was mainly seen from the Arizona but we also received reports from California, New Mexico and Utah.

If you witnessed this event and/or if you have a video or a photo of this event, please
Submit an Official Fireball Report

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

AMS Event #980-2020 – Witness location and estimated ground trajectory (last update: 2020/02/26 8:33am – go to the event page for the latest info)

Trajectory, Velocity and Videos

The preliminary trajectory computed based on all the reports submitted to the AMS so far shows that the fireball was travelling very fast from
North West to South East and ended its flight somewhere over the Mazatzal Peak (highest point in the Mazatzal Mountains).

AMS Event #980-2020 – Estimated 3D trajectory (last update: 2020/02/26 8:33am – go to the event page for the latest kml file)

So far, we received one video of the event and luckily enough, AMS AllSkyCam Operator Robert Ward from Prescott AZ caught it too!

Fireball, Meteorite…?

Several thousand meteors of fireball magnitude occur in the Earth’s atmosphere each day. The vast majority of these, however, occur over the oceans and uninhabited regions, and a good many are masked by daylight. Those that occur at night also stand little chance of being detected due to the relatively low numbers of persons out to notice them.

Additionally, the brighter the fireball, the more rare is the event. As a general thumb rule, there are only about 1/3 as many fireballs present for each successively brighter magnitude class, following an exponential decrease. Experienced observers can expect to see only about 1 fireball of magnitude -6 or better for every 200 hours of meteor observing, while a fireball of magnitude -4 can be expected about once every 20 hours or so.



  • Bob Semlet 3 years ago

    I saw it come within 10 foot of the ground at 5:33 this morning going to PHX. It landed in the median north of Table Mesa Rd. I thought some one had shot a firework as it lite up the east side of my car then I looked over my left shoulder and saw the streak not far away approach the ground at about a 60 degree angle and about 10 foot off the ground it vanished. I thought thefirework had just burnt out. Way cool!!

    Reply to Bob
  • Faith Meyer 3 years ago

    Pretty sure I saw this too, east in Albuquerque New Mexico. Around 8:15?

    Reply to Faith
    • Tab 3 years ago

      Faith, I saw the one you are talking about that happened Wedensday evening about 8:15 Lasted probably 10 seconds or so and pooof!

      Reply to Tab
  • alex perez 3 years ago

    I saw this on my way to work. I was on 64th st and indian school road at 5:33 and thought a helicopter lit up a spot light. when I looked up I saw a greenish blue streak across the sky and thought I would hear a sonic boom. very bright and fast.

    Reply to alex
  • Bryan reese 3 years ago

    I live in ks, I seem it as I was driving to Hutchinson from Wichita. Just seen what appeared to be a blue shooting start only much bigger! Brilliant color! Feel very fortunate to have seen it!

    Reply to Bryan
  • Tiger Toe 3 years ago

    I was sleeping in the field next to the quick trip gas station (homeless). And had to get up to use bathroom. On the way walking to do that. I seen really colorful and bright electric lights on the ground. I assumed it was was Mesa police helicopter harassing me but I looked up anyways and seen the asteroid. It was something. Then I went backed to sleep and got up a few hours later and not to worry Mesa police drove by me on my way to throw my trash away and gave me some looks.

    Reply to Tiger
  • Amanda 3 years ago

    Oh yeah…saw it here on Friday, February 28th in the Sierra Mountains near Jerseydale,CA around 7:15 pm MST. First saw a falling star which is why I was looking up in the sky them immediately afterwards saw a huge ball of light in another direction the size of the moon falling with a streak behind it. Unbelievable! WOW!!! It seemed so close…then had a friend see it in Death Valley NP. It was huge!

    Reply to Amanda
  • Reda Mccoyle 3 years ago

    I found Fast Fireball caught over Arizona on February 26th very

    Kisses!! 🙂

    Reply to Reda
  • BW 3 years ago

    I saw a meteor while standing outside Kitt Peak during their Feb 26th night observation program. We were in the clearing right next to the northeast side of the visitor building. The guide and most of the guests had their backs to the building, looking northeast out over the valley. He was pointing out stars. I turned around, faced the building, and looked over the top of the building and saw a blue-green fireball with a beautiful, long tail go from my right to my left. I believe it would have been going (roughly) from northwest to southeast. It appeared to roughly follow a lateral, parallel line to the horizon. It didn’t appear to slant down to the earth. It lasted only a second or two. I wheeled around to the rest of the crowd and called out “Did you see that?!! A falling star!!” But no one else said much, if anything, about it. Maybe they all missed it.

    Reply to BW
  • Marisol Baca 3 years ago

    Just saw one in wednesday july 29 2020 ar around 9 p.m. over Tucson AZ. It was awesome. First time seeing one. Just appeared out of no where. Glad God let me look up just as it was gonna appear. The gifts God gives us are beautiful. God bless you everyone.

    Reply to Marisol
  • Raul 3 years ago

    I saw for two opportunities fireballs in the sky both at twilight, they were bright lights just like crossing fireworks but huger, and leaving behind a dissipating trace of white smoke. Those were so fast maybe 4 seconds and so beautiful. I pointed out saying “Look at that!” but it was too late for people around me catch the event. I felt lucky for by chance look up at that right moment.

    Reply to Raul
  • Les 3 years ago

    I saw a bright green fireball with a fading red tail as I left Ruidoso New Mexico at 11:43 pm February the 27th…. It was very fast and bright…. I was very blessed and very glad I got to see this one…. It was pretty big….. I seen some before, but not this big….

    Reply to Les

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