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Friday, November 21, 2008

(Video) Fiery meteor sighted in Edmonton and over prairie skies

The Calgary Herald reports:

In Edmonton and across the Prairies, hundreds of people reported seeing a bright flaming object light up the sky around 5:30 p.m. local time. It was variously described as green, yellow, purple or blue, and appeared as either an explosion or an object streaking through the sky.

Sightings came from across the Prairies; from as far south as Medicine Hat, Alta., to as far north as Beauval, Sask. - 600 kilometres from Edmonton.

Marcel Gobeil, who lives on a farm south of Edmonton, was in his living room when he heard what he describes as a ``loud boom,'' followed by bright colourful light in the sky.

"At first I thought it was fireworks,'' said Gobeil. "I've never seen anything like it; it was green and blue and then turned to bright red. It was pretty big.''


"What we probably saw was a fireball, which is the result of a rock coming into the atmosphere,'' said Chris Herd, an associate professor in the University of Alberta's department of earth and atmospheric sciences and curator of the university's meteorite collection.

"The big question now is whether or not anything hit the ground.''

Richard Huziak, a member of the Royal Astronomical Society who lives in Saskatoon, believes it was likely a meteor that did land somewhere near the Alberta-Saskatchewan border.

Reports of sightings are even coming from as far away as Montana.

It's possible that parts of the meteor made it to the ground as meteorites, but they are hard to locate since nobody is exactly sure where it might have landed. Frank Florian, an astronomer at the Telus World of Science explains to the Edmonton Journal:

"There's too much space, there's a lot of wooded areas, a lot of muskeg in northern Alberta that swallows up most anything, we have lakes. It's really hard to determine exactly where things could fall.

"That's why we need as many reports as we can get."

"It's so bright it gets misleading, People think because it's so bright it's really close, but it's really not.

"We really need to take a look at all the reports from Alberta and Saskatchewan and anywhere else that saw it and try to figure out by their line of sight where they saw it in relation to the horizon, which direction they were looking, how high above the horizon they saw it --start and end -- so they can make an educated guess about where it has fallen."

The Meteorites and Impacts Advisory Committee is requesting detailed reports to help them locate any meteorites before they get buried in the snows which are forecasted over the next few days. If efforts at locating fragents fail now, scientists will have to wait until the spring to retrieve any meteorites.

Here's a stunning video of the meteor taken from a police patrol car's camera:

More videos of the meteor after the break:

Some news reports:

This footage captured by Alister Ling using equipment at the University of Calgary:

Posted by Kalim Kassam on November 21, 2008 in Science | Permalink


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Saw a similar event in Calgary's night sky about two years ago -- barely rated a mention anywhere. Geez!

Posted by: Werner Patels | 2008-11-22 2:20:36 AM

This will sell ten thousand books for David Icke and who knows, maybe it will bring Art Bell out of retirement. The good news is, maybe the noise of what that was will bury the global warming idiots for a while.

Posted by: James Cohen | 2008-11-22 10:08:02 AM

Maybe it's the Star of Bethelem? Nah, not a chance. There are no wise men or virgins in Deadmonton! :)

Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2008-11-22 12:43:39 PM

Is it possible that someone in Texas, USA could have seen this thing? I was driving home from work at about 8:45pm heading north when I saw a bright light in the sky. I had no idea what it was. I didn't think that something that landed in Canada could be seen this far South unless it was another one...

Posted by: Mary Foster | 2008-11-22 6:59:47 PM

OK Lloyd, lets get something straight. When it was sighted, it was a meteor. If someone sees it lying on the ground, it's a meteorite.

It will likely never be found, unless there were cameras in several locations to triangulate. Witnesses to these sightings always think they're closer than they really are.

Posted by: dp | 2008-11-22 7:11:35 PM

Probably not Mary. Meteors light up around 50 miles up. The curvature of the earth between Texas and Alberta is at least 200 miles.

Posted by: dp | 2008-11-22 7:20:42 PM

I saw the Meteor while I was in College Station, TX about 180 miles south of Dallas at about 7:30 pm our time (central) on 21 November 2008.....Wow!

Posted by: James | 2008-11-22 10:54:59 PM

Mary, you most assuredly could see it, I saw it at the same time as the Canucks...And it entered the atmosphere at approximately 400,000 feet. DP may not be a certified astronaut or even amateu astrologist. It was also filmed at a HS football game in Penn.

Posted by: James | 2008-11-23 9:54:18 AM

I said "probably" James. I'm definitely not an "astrologist". I hit the wrong button on my calculator last night when I was figuring out the curvature correction. You guys probably could see the meteor, weather permitting. I'm a little out of practise with the math.

Posted by: dp | 2008-11-23 11:05:04 AM

Hey, at least you TRIED math, some people attribute it to some heavenly intervention! It was pretty awesome though, and to think that they say it was probably about the size of a grapefruit...Goodness, can you imagine what a mile wide sucker would look like?

Posted by: James | 2008-11-23 2:10:14 PM

I was just reading a report about it being anywhere from about the size of a chair to the size of a small desk, before the breakup. Can someone verify?

Posted by: Archer | 2008-11-25 9:37:21 AM

I was driving home from sons basketball game on Nov 21, in Slocum Texas, headed north toward Palestine and I definitely saw a meteor the night of Nov. 21. It was spectacular. whitish blue in color and very large.

Posted by: NANCY STEPHENS | 2008-12-02 11:18:36 AM

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