February 21, 2003 Fireball

This bright meteor was seen by residents of Colorado at 6:29 pm MST. It was also caught on several of the DMNS All Sky Network cameras.

The fireball began about 20 miles north of Colorado Springs, at a height of 40 to 50 miles. It descended to the south, burning up at a height of 10 miles near the town of Fowler, CO. Its average speed was 23 km/s (over 51,000 mph) but since it was slowing down as it traveled, its entry speed was much higher.

February 21 FireballThis is an image of the fireball from the Guffey School allsky camera. The trail begins at an altitude of 37° and descends to an altitude of 10°. The meteor becomes brighter as it drops into the denser atmosphere. The trail is nearly 60° long, and lasts 7 seconds.

The lack of an apparent terminal explosion suggests that the meteoroid burned up completely without disintegrating, and therefore probably did not drop meteorites on the ground. This is often the case for fast, shallow meteors.

20030221 Path
The ground path of the fireball is seen here in green. The small black squares represent witness reports. The three orange bursts show the positions of the allsky cameras used to reconstruct the path. The estimated radiant is RA=20.5h, dec=58.5°. This is at the border of Cygnus and Cepheus, and does not correspond to any known meteor showers around this date.

If you saw this fireball and have not made a report, please do so here.

Please check back for further information as it becomes available.

© Copyright 2003, Chris L Peterson. All rights reserved.