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Daylight fireball explodes over New York, creating a bright flash, U.S.


A bright daylight fireball exploded over northern New York, U.S. at 17:10 UTC on December 2, 2020, creating a bright flash in the middle of the day.

Witnesses from parts of upstate New York said the visual event was followed by a sonic boom.

The American Meteor Society (AMS) received more than 150 reports, mainly from New York and Ontario.

Users from Maryland, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia also reported seeing the event.

Image credit: AMS

"When a very bright fireball penetrates to the stratosphere, below an altitude of about 50 km (31 miles), and explodes as a bolide, there is a chance that sonic booms may be heard on the ground below," Vincent Perlerin of the AMS noted.

NASA's analysis of the event shows that the parent meteoroid entered Earth’s atmosphere over upper New York, between Rochester and Syracuse.

"Traveling westward at 90 000 km/h (56 000 mph), it broke into pieces at an altitude of approximately 35 km (22 miles), producing a bright flash reported by the public and caught in videos."

YouTube video

The event was captured by the Geostationary Lightning Mapper aboard NOAA GOES-East satellite:

Fireball over New York, U.S. at 17:10 UTC on December 2, 2020. Credit: NOAA/GOES-East, RAMMB/CIRA, TW

Featured image credit: NOAA/GOES-East, RAMMB/CIRA, TW


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  1. Just be clear, how fast was that meteorite really travellin? For the record “90 km/h” is really around 45 miles an hour. If that figure was really “km/s” that has the object moving at around 64,000 mph. 56,000 mph is really about 34 kps.

  2. Ok, so are we seeing an increase in these significant fireball events? Seems the brightness and sonic levels have taken an uptick recently. Wonder if the scientists worry over an increase in debris is starting to show up.

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