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Meteor seen across wide swath of Pacific Northwest / 2-20-2008

 
BUTTER FINGERS
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02/20/2008 05:41 PM
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Meteor seen across wide swath of Pacific Northwest / 2-20-2008
SEATTLE - A meteor streaked through the sky over the Pacific Northwest early Tuesday, drawing reports of bright lights and sonic booms in parts of Washington, Oregon and Idaho.

The streak of light across the sky and flash was seen by pilots from Boise, Idaho, westward well into Washington state.

"I'm convinced it was a meteor," said Geoff Chester, spokesman for the U.S. Naval Observatory in Washington, D.C. "It was a classic description of a fireball."

Chester speculated the meteor was the size of a big suitcase and had been orbiting the sun for millions of years before entering Earth's orbit.

Callers from across Western Washington reported seeing the bright light at about 5:30 a.m.

Dale Bunge lives in Monroe and said he first thought it was an aircraft until he noticed what looked like flame around the meteor.

"The amount of fire was incredible, unlike any shooting star I have ever seen," he said.

The Federal Aviation Administration said a private pilot reported seeing the meteor hit the Earth in a burst of light near State Route 26 and the Lind-Hatton Road about 5:45 a.m.

The Adams County sheriff's office had no immediate reports of damage, injury or a meteor landing in the area, about 175 miles east-southeast of Seattle and 90 miles southwest of Spokane.

Due to the size of such meteors and how high they are in the atmosphere, it's often difficult for people to judge how far away the object actually is.

Chester said people commonly think they see a meteor hit or about to hit the ground, when it is nowhere close. Most meteorites that strike the Earth are never found, he said.

"When you see objects like this in the sky your sense of scale is distorted," he said. "It's a common optical illusion."

Several security cameras in Eastern Washington captured white and green flash as the meteor moved through the area.

The photos below were taken from a security camera at Providence Portland Medical Center in Oregon.

[link to www.komotv.com]
Anonymous Coward (OP)
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02/20/2008 05:50 PM
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Re: Meteor seen across wide swath of Pacific Northwest / 2-20-2008
VIDEO FOOTAGE: [link to www.komotv.com]
Anonymous Coward (OP)
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02/20/2008 05:54 PM
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Re: Meteor seen across wide swath of Pacific Northwest / 2-20-2008
Update: Meteor may have struck ground somewhere in E. Washington (w/video)


[link to www.tri-cityherald.com]

Update: Meteor may have struck ground somewhere in E. Washington (w/video)
By Paula Horton, Herald staff writer
Video: Meteor as seen from the Othello School District If a meteor seen streaking across the sky in the Mid-Columbia this morning crashed into earth, it likely did so in the southeast area of the state, an amateur astronomer said.

The “very bight” light seen around the Pacific Northwest initially was reported to hit the Earth in Adams County around 5:45 a.m., but officials with the Federal Aviation Administration later said that report was erroneous.

The object was so bright that it was visible in Alberta, Canada. Sarah Patterson said in an e-mail to the Herald that she was driving into Calgary when she saw the meteor.


"The fireball was descending, like a massive white flare, and when it disappeared from sight the sky lit up," she wrote.

Callers to the Herald said they saw it clearly over the Tri-Cities. Some say it resembled a fireball, a rocket, a satellite or an exploding transformer.

Roy Gephart, an earth scientist with the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and an avid amateur astronomer, said the meteor lit up the sky at 5:31 a.m. It was traveling in a northwest to southeast direction and “when it disintegrated and exploded, it was low in the southeast sky,” he said.

“If it’s going southeast, it missed Adams County,” Gephart said. “But it probably lit up Walla Walla quite well.”

A report that a Walla Walla resident heard a sonic boom would match up with the direction of travel, he said. Also, with the characteristics of the “bolide” — a large meteor that explodes in the atmosphere — Gephart said he can’t exclude the possibility that meteorites actually hit the ground.

“But it would be like hunting for a needle in a haystack,” he said, noting that it could be anywhere from the eastern part of the state to Idaho.

He did caution, however, that when a meteor gets about 10 miles above the ground, it slows down enough that it doesn’t glow.

“For the last 10 miles, which may take only a couple of seconds, it is basically called dark flight because you and I can’t see it,” Gephart said. “If there are reports that someone saw a bright object go into the sky and hit the ground as a big flaming tail … that does not happen.”

A number of pilots reported seeing the meteor streaking through the sky from Boise into Washington, an FAA official said.
Anonymous Coward (OP)
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02/20/2008 06:02 PM
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Re: Meteor seen across wide swath of Pacific Northwest / 2-20-2008
More Video!

[link to www.liveleak.com]
Anonymous Coward (OP)
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02/20/2008 06:14 PM
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Re: Meteor seen across wide swath of Pacific Northwest / 2-20-2008
I know I'm going to catch if for asking, but here goes -

Was it the satellite?
Anonymous Coward (OP)
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02/20/2008 06:29 PM
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Re: Meteor seen across wide swath of Pacific Northwest / 2-20-2008
bump
Anonymous Coward (OP)
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02/20/2008 07:01 PM
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Re: Meteor seen across wide swath of Pacific Northwest / 2-20-2008
bump Object said to have landed in East Washington
Anonymous Coward (OP)
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02/20/2008 08:12 PM
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Re: Meteor seen across wide swath of Pacific Northwest / 2-20-2008
bumpAm I the only one meteor hunter in here?

and

Is this film footage not wild or what?

Interesting note is that the "meteor" was on THE SAME FLIGHTPATH of the satellite coming down.

HELLO?
Anonymous Coward
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02/20/2008 08:23 PM
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Re: Meteor seen across wide swath of Pacific Northwest / 2-20-2008
Oh Shit bump
pyper
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11/22/2008 02:29 PM
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Re: Meteor seen across wide swath of Pacific Northwest / 2-20-2008
I was travelling east, 10 km. west of swift current saskatchewan, canada going home from work in alberta. I was speaking to my son when it happened. It was huge, and lit the whole northern sky. you could see it breaking apart
and the smoke trail. Later I was filling with gas and you could smell smoke. It reminded me of a house after a fire.
presumably it landed near Fort macmurray alberta. that is a 13 hr drive north of where I was.
czygyny

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11/22/2008 06:53 PM
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Re: Meteor seen across wide swath of Pacific Northwest / 2-20-2008
And to think I was up that early on Tuesday, and on my way out the door for my long walk down a dark country road to get my paper! Missed it by a few minutes!
Kletos, Eklektos & Pistos

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