Brilliant fireball over Arizona, sonic boom picked up by a seismometer

Brilliant fireball over Arizona, sonic boom picked up by a seismometer

A brilliant fireball streaked through the night sky over southern Arizona, US around 03:32 UTC on September 24, 2017 (20:32 MDT, September 23). The event lasted about 12 seconds and produced a sonic boom picked up by a seismometer near Tucson.

The American Meteor Society (AMS) received 35 reports of a fireball seen over Arizona and New Mexico. 6 eyewitnesses reported hearing a sound associated with the event, 3 delayed and 3 concurrent, while 12 of them reported seeing fragmentation.

The object was captured by all-sky cameras at Kitt Peak National Observatory, Mount Lemmon Observatory, and the MMT Observatory.

According to NASA Meteor Watch, the meteor originated 80 km (49 miles) above the desert southwest of Tucson, Arizona. It traveled at about 47 150 km/h (29 300 mph) for 12 seconds, passing almost directly over the Tortolita suburb of Tucson, before disrupting 32 km (20 miles) above the desert approximately 13 km (8 miles) north of the town of Oracle, Arizona.

Arizona fireball September 24, 2017

Arizona fireball heatmap - September 24, 2017 (UTC). Credit: AMS

The disruption produced a sonic boom that was picked up by a seismometer near Tucson. This indicates that the fireball may have produced meteorites that dropped somewhere over the desert.

Video data analysis indicates that the object that produced the fireball was likely an asteroid fragment that weighed approximately 45 kg (100 pounds) and had a diameter of roughly 30 cm (1 foot).

Featured image: Brilliant fireball over Arizona, US on September 24, 2017. Credit: NASA Meteor Watch

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