December 14, 2017 Fireball

2014.10.06 FireballThis bright fireball occurred at 7:50 PM MST over eastern Colorado. The magnitude at Denver was -17, marking it as a superbolide about 100 times brighter than a full Moon.

Data has been recovered from the following cameras:

The image at left is from the Cloudbait camera; mouse over it to see the image from the Denver Museum camera.

This fireball occurred while the Geminids were active. However, it was not a member of that shower. There is no evidence of meteorites or debris in the Doppler weather radar data from the Denver NOAA station.

2017.12.14 Fireball PathThis map shows the ground path of the fireball.

The meteor began near Greenland at a height of 76 km (47 mi) and descended at a 29° angle (relative to horizontal), exploding over southwest Washington County at a height of 16 km (10 mi). It had an average speed of 17 km/s (38,000 mph). This is near the lowest possible speed for a meteor (11 km/s) but considerably faster than the speed that space junk reenters (8 km/s).

The shallow entry angle, slow speed, and low elevation of the terminal explosion all strongly predict the possibility that meteorites survived to the ground, probably in central Washington County. The low elevation of the terminal explosion and its extreme brightness also mean there's a good chance sonic booms would have been heard near its end point.

The total duration was 7.5 seconds.

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 2017, Chris L Peterson. All rights reserved.