November 16, 2004 Fireball

2004.11.16 Fireball
Image from Cloudbait Camera (video, 245 KB)

2004.11.16 Fireball
Image from Elizabeth HS camera (video, 251 KB)

This bright meteor appeared over central Colorado at 8:45 PM MST. It was recorded by at least two allsky cameras and one witness reported seeing it from Conifer, CO.

By comparing the paths from two of the cameras, the trajectory can be estimated. The meteor started about 62 km over Kiowa, CO, and descended at an angle of 25° from horizontal, to its final height of 31 km over Deckers, CO. Its average velocity was 14.9 km/s.

Given the very low velocity and fairly low height of this event, there is a possibility of meteorite production. An examination of the video data shows that the meteor was flaring erratically over much of the central part of its flight. Meteorites may have dropped in western Elbert County and in Douglas County south of Castle Rock.

The radiant of this object was in Taurus, at RA 83.4°, dec +24.4°. This is quite far from the radiants of the northern or southern Taurids, minor showers that are active at this time. Initially it appeared this might be a Taurid, but I no longer believe this to be the case. The radiant is very close to that of another shower, the northern Chi Orionids. But it is unlikely that a Chi Orionid would be seen as early as November 16, and this meteor was traveling about half the speed of a Chi Orionid. In all likelihood, this was a piece of asteroidal material, not part of any known debris stream.

The images show how different this fireball appeared from Guffey and Elizabeth, which are 61 miles apart. The break in the path on the Elizabeth image occurs where the meteor passes behind the camera, which is suspended above the center of a convex mirror. The Cloudbait camera in Guffey uses a fisheye lens, so there are no blind spots.

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 2004, Chris L Peterson. All rights reserved.