24 January 2009
Massachusetts & Rhode Island Fireball 23JAN09 8:48pm EST
Image of Vectors by Charles Viau
(click on image for larger view)
Latest Update 25JAN09:
By searching the net for observers of this fall, and plotting 16 relative vectors using only 8 cardinal headings (N,NE,E,SE...) from where they were to where they saw this bolide, it points to an area of interest centered around Foxboro, MA in a 10 mile radius. Interesting but that is a very large area. This thing was huge and probably dropped some rocks. Biggest one ever seen around for sure. Perhaps someone has a video from a security cam that may provide better info.
Source: Charles Viau, Braintree, MA
Comment on Meteor Trajectory by Chris Peterson, Colorado, USA 27JAN09
The sightings in this case are unusual because they are so close to the apparent event. As a rule, people don't see overhead meteors, so witness reports tend to be richest 100 miles or more away, where you see the meteor near the horizon (especially at times of the day, as in this case, where most reports come from people in cars).I don't know what the New England weather conditions were like at the time; perhaps conditions outside the immediate area were not good for seeing into Massachusetts. The reports suggest it was cloudy.In any case, this pattern would suggest a fairly steep descent (which itself makes it much less likely that any meteorites survived). Shallow descents cover a lot of ground, so they are usually seen over wider areas- sometimes over paths many hundreds of miles long. Steep descents are associated with a rapid increase in pressure and an earlier breakup of the parent, making it more likely that the debris will burn up completely. The best scenario for meteorite production is a low velocity (most likely to be seen in the early evening), and a relatively shallow entry angle. That gives the meteoroid lots of time to slow down without breaking into small pieces while the speed is still very high.
Chris L Peterson
FIREBALL SIGHTING: Observers in Massachusetts and Rhode Island are reporting a "huge, pulsating blue-green fireball" sighted within minutes of 8:48 pm EST on Jan. 23rd. It was bright enough to be seen through heavy cloud cover, according to one witness.
Source: Robert Woolard, USA
MASS. PIKE FIREBALL: Last night a meteoroid of unknown size hit Earth's atmosphere over New England. Its bright, blue-green disintegration startled motorists driving along the Massachusetts Turnpike and surrounding areas: eye-witness accounts.
Location: near Auburn Massachusetts
Comments: James Vasalofsky: "I saw the fireball on 1/23/09 around 8:48pm. It was blue-ish green when it first appeared, then it was a bright light that lasted about 2 seconds. I was on the Mass Pike heading East near Auburn and it was off to the right in the direction of the South. It was an amazing sight! I've seen meteor showers before but this seemed really close. I assume it was a meteor."
Location: Foxboro, Massachusetts
Comments: Robert Russell: "I was driving home with my family at about 9pm on Friday, Jan 23rd, and we saw what looked to be a huge fireball coming straight down from the black sky. All four of us saw the same thing and were all shocked. It was much bigger than a typical shooting star and was certainly going straight down as opposed to shooting horizontally across the sky. It had blue and green colors in it too. It appeared to have landed or struck down just north of Rt 495 and just east of Rt 95 somewhere in Foxboro or Mansfield."
Location: Lexington, Massachusetts
Comments: Mark A. Abel: "On January 23 at 8:48PM EST I was traveling on I-95 South bound in the Lexington area near the Hanscom Airfield when I saw the bluish-green fireball out of the corner of my eye. At first I thought I may had caught a glimpse of an airplane landing flood light since I was in the Hanscom Airfield area but then it emerged from behind the low level clouds again and I could see that it indeed was a brilliant fireball."
Location: Wakefield, Rhode Island
Comments: Donna & Randy Swanson: "We observed a huge pulsing blue green fireball through the clouds tonight @ 8:48 PM dropping past the horizon, due NE into the Atlantic ocean towards Cape Cod. Bright enough to be seen through heavy cloud cover!"
Location: Agawam, Mass.
Comments: John B Byerly: "At 8:50 pm from Agawam Massachusetts looking easterly I saw a blue green fire ball through a pretty thick cloud cover. It lasted maybe a second with a significant tail. I am a total amateur but It looks similar to the video that was posted a couple of days ago."
Location: North Windham, Connecticut
Comments: Paulette Harwood: "My husband and I observed the fireball while heading southeast on Rt. 6 in North Windham, CT. It was quite large and had a green glow."
Location: MassPike between exits 11 and 11A
Comments: E. Szymczak: "I was driving east on the MassPike and at a few minutes before 9 between exits 11 and 11A and saw a huge green fireball that appeared to come from the north fairly close to the horizon. It was spectacular!"
Location: Warwick, Rhode Island
Comments: Joe Malachowski: "My son and I saw the fireball at 8:48pm on 1.23.09 in Warwick, Rhode Island. It was blue-green and lasted approximately 3 seconds - ended without a flash. This was the brightest meteor I've seen in my 46 years, brighter even than the one I saw at the Grand Canyon 2 years ago."
Location: Little Compton, Rhode Island
Comments: Anthony Russi: "I was sitting in my den and through my window I saw a dazzling fireball drop from the night sky. I live in little Compton, Rhode Island on the Sakonnet River, the object was east of me. It came straight down and looked like huge flare. Sometime around 8:30."
Comments: Briana: "At approx. 8:45pm, our family was driving north on route 395 between route 97 & 169 in CT. My husband said, 'Look, Look, Look!!' And there, straight ahead, was a very bright object heading for the ground. For me it was gone quickly, but my husband said he saw it above the clouds, then it disappeared for a moment behind some clouds, then he saw it again below the clouds. Because of this we both think it had to have hit the ground. Most likely someplace in NE CT, possibly between Danielson and Thompson. It was very cool, but I hope no one was hurt."