June 23, 2010 Fireball

2010.06.23 FireballThis extremely bright fireball occurred at 02:49 AM MDT over central Colorado. This meteor may be a member of the June Lyrid shower.

Data has been recovered from the following cameras:

A video was also recorded by a camera near Santa Fe, NM, 436 km south of the fireball. The image at left is from the Cloudbait camera. The peak brightness as seen from Cloudbait Observatory was apparent magnitude -13, slightly brighter than a full Moon.

The meteor descended steeply (just 10° from vertical) over the Buffalo Creek area of the mountains between Bailey, CO and Deckers, CO. It first appeared at a height of 104 km, and stopped burning at a height of 41 km. It experienced a violent fragmentation event at a height of 53 km. The meteor had an average speed of 47 km/s (106,000 mph). NEXRAD Doppler radar (KFTG Denver) over the hour following the fireball does not show evidence of a dust cloud.

The meteor radiant was at RA = 289°, dec = +35, in Lyra. This is very close to the June Lyrid (JLY) meteor shower, which has a drift corrected radiant of RA = 284°, dec = +35. That shower is not well characterized, but suggests an initial velocity of 31 km/s, which deviates significantly from the 47 km/s estimate for this event. This may argue against this fireball being a June Lyrid, or it may simply demonstrate that the IMO estimated velocity is incorrect.

The relatively high speed, steep entry angle, high altitude of fragmentation, and probable cometary origin all make it unlikely that any material survived to the ground. In the unlikely event that meteorites were produced, the fall area is extremely rugged and not practically searchable.

2010.06.23 Fireball PathThis map shows details of the fireball path. The actual flight path was 64 km long, resulting in a 11 km ground path.

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 2010, Chris L Peterson. All rights reserved.