October 28, 2008 Fireball

2008.10.28 FireballThis fireball occurred at 7:29 PM MDT over central Colorado. I have received over 300 witness reports, from Colorado, Wyoming, Kansas, Nebraska, New Mexico, and Arizona.

Data has been recovered from the following Network cameras:

Tom Ashcraft also captured this meteor from his camera near Santa Fe, NM (video and other information).

The image at left is from the Cloudbait camera. The meteor is seen passing almost straight overhead. It burned continuously, but where it passed behind thicker clouds at the center the computer briefly stropped recording.


Based on data from the cameras, the meteor appeared over Colorado Springs, CO and traveled due west, ending near Cedaredge, CO. The ground path was about 270 km (170 miles) long, and the average speed was 34 km/s (76,000 mph). I have not yet accurately determined the entry angle. The fireball was traveling very nearly parallel to the ground, apparently at a low height of 30-40 km (which is consistent with reports of sonic booms). The path is similar to an Earth-grazer, but the height would normally be higher in that case. The radiant is close to that of the Southern Taurid shower, which peaks on November 5 and is active for several weeks. However, the behavior and path of this fireball make me think it was a sporadic meteor, not a shower member.
2008.10.28 Fireball Path

Witness Reports

As of November 9, I have received over 300 witness reports. These span a range of 900 miles from east to west, and 600 miles from north to south. This is one of the most widely reported events I've analyzed. The reports were very consistent in describing the fireball as blue, green, or turquoise, long lasting, and as bright as the Moon. Most people had the impression of fairly slow movement. Many reported seeing the ground light up. There were several reports of sonic booms under the path, and two reports of electrophonic noise. The map below shows the distribution of 245 witnesses, as well as allsky camera locations.

Fireball Witnesses

I was particularly pleased to receive a fine report from 8-year old M.L. in Longmont, Colorado, who also included this excellent drawing:

Fireball Drawing by M.L.

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

Please check back for further information as it becomes available.

© Copyright 2008, Chris L Peterson. All rights reserved.