Did You See the Fireball in Iowa Saturday Night?
Many Iowans were outside after sunset looking for the Northern Lights on Saturday --- which did NOT appear, but some were treated to a massive fireball scorching through the night sky. Reports of seeing it ranged from Minnesota to as far south as Arkansas.
According to the American Meteor Society, the meteor first appeared 60 miles above Reinbeck, Iowa, at 8:34 PM on Saturday, October 30, moving south at 87,000 miles per hour. It disintegrated 44 miles above Oskaloosa 3 seconds later. It was only visible for three seconds, but traveled 73 miles in that time, according to NASA.
Three witnesses (one in Cedar Falls) said that they could hear either a crackling sound, a woosh, and one person in Marengo, reported hearing a bass-filled thud.
Most witnesses reported the color of the fireball appeared to look greenish. Over 100 people reported seeing the fireball to amsmeteors.org.
Below is a heat map of where most of the reports came from:
The greenish color could mean that the meteor was made primarily of magnesium, an element known to glow green as it burns up in the atmosphere, according to AccuWeather. A meteor with high iron content tends to be yellow in color, while calcium is purple, sodium burns orange, and fireballs with a lot of nitrogen or oxygen will appear reddish.
The fireball could have been a part of the annual Orionid Meteor Shower, as the Earth passes through the debris from Halley’s Comet.
On October 3rd, a meteorite fragment smashed through the roof of a home in Canada. An amazing photo of the fireball can be viewed HERE.
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