Reports Report 3393i (Event 3393-2017)

Name Laurie B
Experience Level 3/5
Remarks Photography is a hobby. Have been shooting night skies for years and have photographed many meteor showers, Milky Way, and night skies. Have never seen anything like this before! Something I'll never forget! Friend and I were photographing Cape Hatteras Light, NC and 'lightpainting' the Light (shining a flashlight on the structure to illuminate it better in the dark). I was shooting long exposure as usual for this type of image desired. My settings were f/4, 25 second exposure, iso 3200, 17mm focal length, no flash, tripod, remote shutter release, no filters, manual mode. Although the Lighthouse has obvious light source, this area is 'dark sky country' for us in this region, and beyond the Light is just the Atlantic lots of dark skies. Friend and I not in same location for the experience: I was further back shooting the image, friend was behind the little guardhouse to the left of Light (out of sight for image) shining a flashlight on the structure. We were both looking up at the structure to complete our work. Shutter had been open a matter of seconds already when my friend yelled "plane", I said "yep, see it". It was so close to us on the ground! Then almost as soon as it was in field of view, it exploded into a HUGE orange fire with fire fragments going in all close we could actually see the fire and fragmentation. My mouth literally dropped open as I was thinking a plane just exploded. Then it fizzled out leaving a fantastic green trail. It was only at this moment when fire fizzled out that I could tell not a plane, thankfully, it was a meteor! The green colors came after the huge orange fireball. The actual sight is different than this image as this is long exposure (to allow more light into shutter for proper image exposure) which renders the meteor in this elongated fashion, although you can still very much appreciate the green smoke of meteor from explosion in this image. What my naked eye saw was realtime experience: the streak of light, huge explosion like I've never seen before, then fire died out allowing me to register not a plane but a meteor. I sent this to NASA as I was am very into night skies and am extremely interested in the technical details of what I witnessed and captured on camera. Haven't heard back from them, and a friend just told me about this site...would've reported sooner if I knew about you. I look forward to your investigating this event and the details of your findings. Thank you in advance, Laurie Barnett
Address Buxton, NC
Latitude 35° 15' 3.09'' N (35.250858°)
Longitude 75° 31' 43.99'' W (-75.528887°)
Elevation 2.644m
Time and Duration
Local Date & Time 2017-09-23 23:36 EDT
UT Date & Time 2017-09-24 03:36 UT
Duration ≈20s
Moving direction From down right to up left
Descent Angle 283°
Facing azimuth 169.83°
First azimuth 205.58°
First elevation 28°
Last azimuth 110.37°
Last elevation 29°
Brightness and color
Stellar Magnitude -13
Color Green, Light Yellow
Concurrent Sound
Observation No
Remarks -
Delayed Sound
Observation No
Remarks -
Persistent train
Observation Yes
Duration 2s
Length -
Remarks Came into view, thought it a plane as so close to me. It continued closer, then exploded into a HUGE fire in all directions; this is when I could tell it was not a plane, but a meteor, as the fire fizzled out and trail became very prominent with green smokey colors.
Terminal flash
Observation Yes
Remarks HUGE explosion that burst into an enormous fire, then fizzled out.
Observation Yes
Remarks HUGE explosion with fire bursting out in all directions, then fizzled out.