Extremely bright fireball observed over Arizona, US

Extremely bright fireball observed over Arizona, US

A bright fireball was observed and recorded over Phoenix, Arizona at around 10:57 UTC on June 2, 2016. The event was accompanied by a sonic boom, produced as the asteroid disintegrated in the atmosphere.

The fireball was seen primarily from Arizona but witnesses from Utah, New Mexico, California, Texas and Nevada also reported the event, the American Meteor Society said. 

On June 3, NASA estimated the asteroid was 1 - 2 meters (5 feet) in diameter, with a mass of a few tons and a kinetic energy of approximately half a kiloton. It was moving at about 64 700 km/h (40 200 mph).

“If Doppler radar is any indication, there are almost certainly meteorites scattered on the ground north of Tucson,” said Bill Cooke of NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office (MEO).

Cooke added that he and other meteor experts are having difficulty obtaining data from meteor camera videos, since many of the cameras were almost completely saturated by the bright event, see the video at the end of the article.

Eyewitness reports placed the object at an altitude of 92 km (57 miles) above the Tonto National Forest east of the town of Payson, moving almost due south. It was last seen at an altitude of 35 km (22 miles) above that same forest.

“There are no reports of any damage or injuries - just a lot of light and few sonic booms,” Cooke said.

This animation by NASA/MEO shows the orbit of the June 2, 2016 Arizona fireball and the view from its perspective as it approaches Earth.

The following video was obtained from the NASA meteor camera situated at the MMT Observatory on the site of the Fred Lawrence Whipple Observatory, located on Mount Hopkins, Arizona, in the Santa Rita Mountains.

Featured image: Fireball over Arizona, US on June 2, 2016.

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