A New England meteor overwhelmed witnesses in parts of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, New York, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut and Pennsylvania. The bright fireball streaked across the skies on Dec. 26, 2017, at about 6 p.m. EST.
Reports came from more than 230 people who described the meteor as having a fiery greenish glow. The meteor is about the size of a golf ball traveling between 10 to 30 miles per second. The fireball was also caught on camera in Ontario and Quebec.
There were no immediate records of damages or injuries from the object. Since there was no ground impact, the New England meteor likely burned up before hitting the ground. Astronomers did not believe that the fiery ball was part of a larger meteor shower. This fireball could be bits of rock in orbit around the sun. Most meteors that are part of a meteor shower are the size of a grain sand. The last meteor shower appeared 10 days earlier, and the next one is in January 2018.
New England Meteor Overwhelmed Witnesses
New England residents got quite a show when they spotted the meteor that turned the night sky into daylight. Few witnesses took photos of the spectacle because of its speed. Mount Agamenticus Conservation Program in York, Maine captured the best images. While the images of the meteor shared on social media appeared to fall close to Earth, it was 10 to 25 miles away.
A fireball is a bright meteor burning up as it enters the Earth’s atmosphere. The space rock could be a meteoroid or asteroid caught up in the Earth’s gravity. The pieces that survive the fiery fall to Earth are called meteorites.
It was not clear if the Dec. 26 fireball was close enough to be on NASA’s database through its Center for Near Earth Object Studies. The last entry was a fireball that streaked over eastern Russia with an impact energy of 6.4 kilotons, equal to the power of 6,400 tons of dynamite blowing up.
Native American Folklore
Meteors have been associated with gods and religion. These objects were thought of as gifts from angels. During the 17th century, many believed meteors and meteorites fell from thunderstorms.
A new theory emerged in 1807, when a fireball exploded over Connecticut and caused the discovery of a handful of asteroids. The most significant meteorite event was in June 1908, destroying part of the Siberian forest. Witnesses saw a fire streak that entered the atmosphere. When it exploded, it sent out hot winds and loud noises. Scientists believed it was a comet because they never found a meteorite.
The first crater caused by a meteorite impact occurred 20,000 to 50,000 years ago and was named Meteor Crater. The crater is a hole 600 feet deep with a 150 feet rim from the surrounding plain. In 1948, the largest meteorite ever recovered in the U.S. weighed 2,360 pounds. Scientists found it buried in a wheat field in Southern Nebraska.
New England Meteor
Researchers claim that these bright fireballs are random. They are not surprised, and they are continuing research to learn more about the composition of the object.
By Janet Grace Ortigas
Edited by Jeanette Smith
CBS News Possible meteor spotted flying over New England
Boston Herald Golf-ball-size meteor stuns New England
Image Courtesy of rwarrin’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License