A spacerock exploded in the atmosphere, lighting up the sky over most of Utah just aftermidnight on Wednesday, according to KSL News.
The newsstation reportedly fielded hundreds of calls from skywatchers who spotted the fireballfrom southern Utah to southern Idaho. Reports of observations have also comefrom Las Vegas and other areas in California.
The meteorexploded with the equivalent of 0.5 to 1 kilotons of TNT, according tospaceweather.com. Then, about six hours later, a "twisting iridescent-bluecloud" lit up the dawn sky for residents in Utah and Colorado.
Meteors arefallen debris from a cometor other space rock. As the debris enters the atmosphere, it heats up andproduces the brilliantstreaks of light we sometimes call shooting stars. Though most meteors aredestroyed during this process, some make it to the ground and are known asmeteorites.
However, aNASA ambassador told KSL News the chances of finding a meteor rock from thelatest show are small.
"Itlasted 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 itwas as light as day. I could see the bushes off to the right of the road. Itwas completely lit up. You'll see the meteors flying across the sky andeverything, but I've never seen one come that close."
Spaceweather.comalso suggests the fireball was not associated with the Leonidmeteor shower currently taking place.
To read thefull 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