Weather

Jan 12, 2011 12:05 AM by Rob Perillo

Huge Fireball Spotted Over Southeast US

At roughly 8:50pm local time an apparent meteor was spotted by observers in Acadiana including KATC's Hoyt Harris. Hoyt and Acadiana were not alone in the observation with twitter reports (#flashoflight) from Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida of a bright object in the sky at the same time.

A sonic boom was heard as far north as Western North Carolina where cloudy skies prohibited the viewing of the fireball. None of the reports in Acadiana mentioned a sonic boom.

The possible meteor was described as a large green ball (copper composition) with a trailing orange and yellow tail.

While there were no major meteor showers in progress there could still be a random object striking the Earth's atmosphere. Meteors as small as the size of a pea striking the Earth can put on quite a show, but many believe that this object was a lot larger.

As of press time there was no credible indication if the meteor reached the ground or just burned up in the Earth's atmosphere.

Apparently NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory Near Earth Object did indicate a relatively "close" flyby of an asteroid this evening passing roughly 850,000 miles (more than 3 times the distance to the moon) from the Earth. This particular asteroid was estimated to be 25-60 feet in diameter, but it remains unclear if the possible meteor was debris associated with this asteroid or not.

There will likely be additional reports and more clarifying information Wednesday.

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