Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Northwest Meteor

My hubby thought the neighbors were rolling out the trash can, but trash day isn't till tomorrow! Then it sounded like something knocked over our can by the back porch and THEN the WHOLE HOUSE shook and he heard a BANG! He jumped out of bed, and ran down stairs. The dogs were all barking wildly, but he didn't see a thing...

"I think there was a little earthquake.' he told me later when I finally woke up.

It wasn't till I was at work that someone said they had heard on the radio that it was a meteor.

(P.S - Don't forget to look for the lunar eclipse tomorrow, 2/20/08, around 7:30pm pacific time.)

A great news report can be seen on KEPR TV's page just click on either of the video links. They mention reports of it coming down near Hwy 26 in Adams County WA.

Pacific Northwest gets fiery visit from meteor
A light show and sonic boom made for a memorable early morning today.

WALLA WALLA — A meteor gave the Pacific Northwest a celestial wake-up call today.

Local residents reported hearing what sounded like a sonic boom and seeing bright flashes shortly before 5:30 a.m. as the object crossed overhead.

Sudbury Road resident Kevin Shenefield said he had just stepped into his hot tub outside his house. "I was laying back with my eyes closed and the light was suddenly so bright that I noticed it even through my eyelids," he said.

"It was only 5:30 (a.m.) but it was suddenly completely daylight out," Shenefield said. "It stayed like that for a few seconds ... Then it just kinda flickered and went away."

The Associated Press reported this morning the meteor was seen across a wide area of the Pacific Northwest.

A Federal Aviation Administration duty officer in Seattle confirmed that the light was a meteor. The officer told AP it was seen by pilots from Boise westward well into Washington state.

KHQ Television in Spokane reported getting viewer calls from much of Eastern Washington and North Idaho.
Despite the display, local dispatchers only "received a couple of calls from people asking 'what was that?'" said Tom Deccio, shift supervisor at the city-county emergency dispatch center.

The reports of booms indicates the meteor may have been a bolide, which is a meteor that breaks up in the atmosphere and creates a fireball, said U.J. Sofia, professor of astronomy at Whitman College.

"It could be a bolide. What you're hearing is the sonic boom which was quite a bit after the light," he said.

What is amazing is that although meteors streak through the sky all the time, so few are observed, Sofia said. About 25 million meteors a day hit the earth's atmosphere "and we gather about 1,000 tons of material a day," as a result.

Sofia said he wasn't one of the lucky ones who saw today's display.

"I was up at 5:30 and I totally missed it. I'm so bummed," he said.