An Extra Halloween Treat in the Sky(NOV. 1, 2005) -- I want to personally thank the 85 listeners who took the time to write to WTOP about their observations of the Halloween fireballs. Yes, you read correctly, fireballs. I am convinced, based upon our listeners’ observations, that we had two separate events Oct. 31.
Here is what I can share with you as I am still in the process of digesting the wealth of information I received as well as writing back to each of our listeners. This is preliminary information and I plan to have a more detailed wrap up in the near future.
It appears that a fireball similar in brightness to Mars, if not brighter, was seen throughout our listening area at approximately 6:30 p.m. Halloween night. Some have stated that they observed this fireball to split in two at the end of its luminous flight path.
A second and much brighter fireball occurred at approximately 9:15 p.m. I have observations in hand from as far south as Independence, Va., Richmond and Charlottesville, Va, and as far north as Baltimore. Observers were unanimous in stating how bright this fireball was – “it lit up the country side”, “as bright as the full moon,” were common descriptors.
I also have information that I am looking into further as to noises that some observers reported while witnessing these events.
We are currently in the window for a meteor shower called the Taurid meteor shower. Meteor showers occur at specified dates when the Earth encounters streams of cometary material left behind from a comet’s passage.
This cometary material occupies segments of space that our planet passes through each year, causing shooting stars, meteors, to appear to radiate from one section of the sky. The Taurids’ appear to originate from the constellation Taurus, the Bull, the same constellation where the planet Mars is located in the night sky. I will have more on this possible connection in part three of this story.
If you have not reported these fireballs to me, please do so. I have also made contact with sources to see if there has been any reporting to them. I also encourage observers to use the reporting link to the American Meteor Society to fill out and submit their observations.
Again, my thanks for your emails.
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