Meteor Explosion Lights Up Sky Over Utah
A space rock exploded in the atmosphere, lighting up the sky over most of Utah just after midnight on Wednesday, according to KSL News.
The news station reportedly fielded hundreds of calls from skywatchers who spotted the fireball from southern Utah to southern Idaho. Reports of observations have also come from Las Vegas and other areas in California.
The meteor exploded with the equivalent of 0.5 to 1 kilotons of TNT, according to spaceweather.com. Then, about six hours later, a "twisting iridescent-blue cloud" lit up the dawn sky for residents in Utah and Colorado.
Meteors are fallen debris from a comet or other space rock. As the debris enters the atmosphere, it heats up and produces the brilliant streaks of light we sometimes call shooting stars. Though most meteors are destroyed during this process, some make it to the ground and are known as meteorites.
However, a NASA ambassador told KSL News the chances of finding a meteor rock from the latest show are small.
"It lasted for about eight to 10 seconds," skywatcher Don White, who was in Wyoming, told KSL News. "I think for about the last three to four seconds of that it was as light as day. I could see the bushes off to the right of the road. It was completely lit up. You'll see the meteors flying across the sky and everything, but I've never seen one come that close."
Spaceweather.com also suggests the fireball was not associated with the Leonid meteor shower currently taking place.
To read the full story and watch video clips of the fireball, check out KSL News coverage.
- Leonid Image Galleries 1, 2, 3, 4
- Cosmic Triple-Play: Asteroid Flyby, Fireball Over Utah, Meteor Shower
- All About Meteors
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