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Bright green fireball, sonic boom over the southeastern US

fireball-sonic-boom-alabama-mississippi-february-2017

A bright green fireball was seen streaking across the sky over the southeastern United States at 03:05 UTC on February 19, 2017 (21:05 CST, February 18). The event, a possible meteorite dropper, was accompanied by a sonic boom.

The event was seen from Mississippi and Alabama to North Florida.

According to Bill Cooke of NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office, preliminary analysis shows the fireball first appeared to the northeast of Mobile, Alabama and moved to the west at about 90 000 km/h (56 000 mph).

"The best reports indicate that it broke apart above U.S. 43 north of Mobile, and the reports of sound indicate it probably penetrated fairly low into the atmosphere before fragmenting, perhaps as low as 22 km (14 miles).

"The average brightness is that of the Full Moon, so we are probably dealing with an object a foot or two (30 to 60 cm) in diameter. It seemed to be moving a bit fast to produce meteorites, but there is a lot of disagreement in the accounts by the eyewitnesses.

"I would say it is a possible meteorite dropper, and a search of the Doppler weather radar in the area may be helpful in determining if there were meteoritic particles falling to the ground," Cooke said.

Featured image: Bright green fireball seen over the southern US on February 19, 2017. Credit: James Spann

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