Bright fireball over southern California, U.S.


A bright fireball streaked through the night sky over southern California at around 03:46 UTC on October 17, 2021 (20:45 LT, October 16).

The American Meteor Society (AMS) received 116 reports1 from Arizona, California, Nevada, and Utah as well as 2 videos:

YouTube video

YouTube video

Analysis of eyewitness reports and information from 3 publicly accessible cameras in the region, established that the fireball was first sighted at an altitude of 82 km (51 miles) above the Mojave Trails National Monument.

It moved to the northwest at 75 640 km/h (47 000 mph), finally disintegrating 51 km (32 miles) above the California town of Yermo, just east of Barstow, according to NASA Meteor Watch.2

Taking 3.8 seconds to burn up, the meteor managed to travel 75 km (47 miles) through the upper atmosphere; its peak brightness was between that of a quarter and full Moon.

California fireball October 17, 2021 – heatmap. Credit: AMS


1 Fireball event 6638-2021 – AMS

2 NASA Meteor Watch – FB

Featured image: Sandy Vernona Munoz


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