Monday, November 07, 2005

" . . . The Bright Blue Light Moved South With An Orange and White Streak. It Then Exploded . . .'

Flash in Sky
Flash seen in sky possibly a meteor?

Richmond Times-Dispatch
11-1-05

     Dana Coleman was anxious to know what was behind the "extraordinary bright light" seen last night in Richmond and as far away as Goochland and Dinwiddie counties.

     "It was really, really strange," Coleman said, minutes after the sighting.

     Coleman lives near Libbie and Grove avenues. She and three friends were chatting outside about 9:25 p.m. when "the whole backyard suddenly illuminated."

     She said the bright blue light moved south with an orange and white streak. It then exploded and disappeared, she said.

     "We weren't afraid," Coleman said. "We were more in awe."

     Reached last night, David Hagan, a museum scientist at the Science Museum of Virginia, explained the sighting as a possible fireball or a meteor that appeared to be burning as it changed colors and moved through the atmosphere.

     The explosion Coleman described, Hagan said, could result from the disintegration of the meteor. "It's not unusual for it to break into pieces."

     Shooting stars are common, he said, but clouds obscure many of them. The Orionid meteor shower peaked Oct. 21, and last night's sighting could be related, he said.

     It's rare that fireballs are seen but, when they are, hundreds of people at a time usually witness them, he said. "It probably happens every few nights somewhere around the world."

     The Dinwiddie County sheriff's office received several calls. The first caller asked if anyone had seen the commotion in the sky, said Dinwiddie duty officer Ken Howerton. "He said, 'I just want to make sure I'm not going crazy.'" - Osita Iroegbu

Special Thanks To Christian Macé

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