Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Meteor That Streaked Across Wyoming Seen for 500 Miles

Credit: American Meteor Society

On Monday night, Casper resident Anne Ladd was driving on U.S. Highway 20 between Casper and Shoshoni when she caught in the corner of her eye a flash of green light, descending from the sky. “It looked like it burned out before it hit the ground,” she said. “But it got really close to the ground.” Ladd likely saw a fireball, a meteor brighter than the planet Venus, said Mike Hankey, a volunteer with the American Meteor Society.

About 25 people from Wyoming, Colorado, Montana and Utah reported to the society that they witnessed the 9 p.m. spectacle.

Campbell County Undersheriff Scott Matheney told the Gillette News Record on Tuesday that people called to report a loud, thunder-like noise and bright flashes of light.

Based on reports to the society, Hankey believes the fireball traveled from northwest to southeast in an area that’s east of the Big Horn Mountains and north of Casper Mountain.

“Based on the triangulation of it, you could see it about 500 miles in any given direction,” he said.

What Ladd and others witnessed was rare, Hankey said.

Although fireballs dance across the atmosphere daily, not everyone sees them, he said. But in rural places such as Wyoming, the chances of witnessing them are greater because there is little light pollution at night.

“Interestingly, in the last week we’ve had a rash of fireballs,” Hankey said. “This September, there have been more reports than in any month this year.”

Credit: trib.com

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