Fireball Streak Reported Over Colorado; Break-Up Of Actual Meteor

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By Afza Fathima | September 5, 2014 2:32 PM EST

On Tuesday, Sep. 2, a lot of people in Colorado said they saw a fireball streak across the sky at about 10.30 p.m. 

Director of the Sommers-Bausch Observatory at the University of Colorado, Seth Hornstein, said that the bright ones were rare and they see only three or so of them that get significantly brighter every year. 

Reuters
A Perseid meteor streaks towards the horizon during the annual Persied meteor shower in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, August 12, 2008. Perseids meteors are bits of debris left by the comet Swift-Tuttle which burn up in the Earth's atmosphere.

A man sent an email to 9news stating that he and several members of his family had seen the fireball from their home. Reports on sightings can be done on the website of the American Meteor Society and these reports showed that the family wasn't the only one.

The website shows that people from eighteen different cities near Colorado like Fountain, Evergreen, Boulder, Pueblo, Estes Park Littleton, Aurora and Arvada had also seen the meteor.

Hornstein said that the meteor was approximately the size of a sports ball, either a baseball or a volleyball. Though that doesn't seem like it is too big, he explained that usually the size of the fireball would be the size of a pebble or a grain of sand.

Hornstein continued that the bigger the fireballs get, the brighter they are making it easier to see because of which it was visible in most of the south Wyoming area. He had heard reports that some people had seen the breakup of the actual meteor.

He added that it was probably a lone meteor as there are no showers coming up with the next one, Orionids, being expected in mid-October.

A sky camera that was part of the Sommer-Bausch Observatory, would help capture the meteor but had been taken down several months ago. The good news is that it is expected to be reinstalled in the next few weeks.

A resident of the Martin Acres neighbourhood, Trevor Ycas said that he and his friends saw the meteor split into four pieces. He explained that the meteor was going from the south to north and it broke apart either at the north of Loveland or in Greeley. He had used a compass to check the trajectory of the meteor and he thinks that it was travelling 15 to 20 degrees east of north.

Friends of Ycas tried to capture the images through their camera phones but were unsuccessful in capturing good ones. 

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(Photo: Reuters / Doug Murray)
A Perseid meteor streaks towards the horizon during the annual Persied meteor shower in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, August 12, 2008. Perseids meteors are bits of debris left by the comet Swift-Tuttle which burn up in the Earth's atmosphere.
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