Friday4 June 20045:03pm MDT2004-06-04 UTC 2303 back top next  

The Asteroid/Comet Connection's
daily news journal about
asteroids, comets, and meteors


Today's issue status: done
yesterdayJuneSundayIndex

Cover: Bidding closes June 16th on this, the 11 kg. (22 lb.) Binya find, one of the world's eight cataloged coarse octahedrite Group IIIF iron meteorites. It was found in a wheat field in northern New South Wales in 1981, and the Australian government requires that this former doorstop be preserved in country. Image courtesy of the sales agent, Lex E. Simshauser Consulting (that's Lex in the tie and gloves). See more about this in news of May 10th.

Washington fireball – panel 1/2 Major News for 4 June 2004 back top next  
Washington fireball

The Seattle Times wrap today on yesterday morning's fireball over Washington state tells that the explosion was picked up by 80 University of Washington (UW) seismic stations, registering "magnitude 1.6 on the earthquake scale. It reports that UW seismologist Steve Malone "was able to use the instrument readings to pinpoint the site of the explosion: About six miles northeast of the town of Snohomish and 26 miles above ground... 'And it looks like it entered the atmosphere at a fairly steep angle.'" The paper also has a compilation of witness reports, and quotes one eyewitness as saying he would pay "to see that again."

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer today cites Bill Steele of the UW Pacific Northwest Seismograph Network (PNSN) with reporting that "The meteor appears to have exploded about 27 miles [43 km.] above and 6.4 miles northeast of the city of Snohomish." It quotes him as saying "we saw only a point source (a single explosion) . . . rather than the sonic-boom kind of sound wave that comes as an object rapidly enters the

atmosphere," thus a conclusion that the meteor's entry was steep.

Both papers have images from several security cameras at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle that caught the flash of the fireball, but not the fireball itself.

PNSN has a news item from yesterday that links to the seismograph "webicorder" event readings. It is noted that, although eyewitnesses reported seeing it from eastern Washington state and further east, the fireball did not leave "a sonic trail on our eastern Washington stations," which is further evidence for a steep entry.

Ed Majden tells A/CC that his was the only all-sky camera in the region that was in service yesterday morning. He points out that the Canadian Space

more fireball coverage >>

Editorial note from Marco Langbroek, who assisted with yesterday's report Yesterday I wrote that Progress M1-11 re-entered over Russia. That was based on a predicted time of 0950 UTC for this re-entry. NASA Human Space Flight, however, now claims it re-entered over the Pacific. Nevertheless, it cannot have been responsible for the fireball as it would not have passed that part of the world by several hours.

Washington fireball – panel 2/2 Major News for 4 June 2004 back top next  

<< continued from panel 1

Administration Meteorites and Advisory Committee (MIAC) has a catalog of North American cameras with location and status.

Editor & Publisher has a follow-up report today, "Radio Station Tries to Track Down Source of Bogus AP 'Meteor Crash' Report." That the hoax hasn't completely died can be seen in a report today at KATC-TV in Lafayette, Louisiana.

The Cascadia Meteorite Lab at Portland State University has posted a fireball report. It says sonic booms were heard in Portland, Oregon, and "A 'burning sulfur smell' was reported in Chehalis," Washington (about 100 miles south-southwest of Snohomish). And it and an article at the Oregonian say that witness reports indicate that the object traveled "west to east towards the Centralia-Chehalis area." Dick Pugh from the lab told the paper that a driver south of Olympia (well southwest of Snohomish and north of Chehalis) "saw the meteor break up in the southern sky," while people saw it to the north from Vancouver, Washington, across the river from Portland.

Among other local eyewitness reports at the Olympia Olympian today is one from Stardust comet mission Principal Investigator Don Brownlee: He "said his son saw the bright light and then the whole family heard the sonic boom from inside their houseboat. 'We heard this incredible noise that sounded like a truck landing on the dock.'"

The Peninsula Daily News in Port Angeles, Washington also has local reporting today, and says that "In Neah Bay, a security camera overlooking the Makah Marina caught two flashes of light followed by a loud noise four minutes and 33 seconds later," with "a small flash . . . and then a bright light."

The Bremerton Sun has posted a compilation of witness reports, and says in an article today that the event overloaded the local 911 call center, with "80%" of the calls inappropriately from people just wanting to know what had happened.

News briefs – panel 1/1 Major News for 4 June 2004 back top next  
News briefs

SCN campaign:  The European Spaceguard Central Node has posted an observing campaign for "the second half of June" for 1999 MN, "a relatively small (H = 21.6) Aten" that needs to have its orbit calculation improved ahead of radar observation next month. This is the first new SCN observing campaign since two were announced February 20th.

Terry Bressi recovered 1999 MN with the Spacewatch 1.8m telescope in Arizona on 27-28 May (MPEC 2004-K62), the first time it had been reported seen since 17 July 1999, when it went out of sight with a 25-day observing arc.

Sudbury crater: Space.com has an article today, "Ancient Impact Turned Part of Earth Inside-Out." It reports evidence that, in the case of Ontario, Canada's Sudbury Crater, the effect of the large impact went right to the bottom of Earth's upper crust.

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