Fireball lights up the sky, screen for researchers

Western researchers have released footage of a basketball-sized fireball seen widely by observers throughout southern Ontario early Friday morning, Oct. 7.

Physics & Astronomy professor Peter Brown, Canada Research Chair in Meteor Astronomy, says six all-sky cameras from Western’s Southern Ontario Meteor Network recorded a bright, long-lasting fireball in the morning sky over Georgian Bay, moving on an easterly path across Parry Sound at 6:46 a.m. Friday morning. The fireball was last detected in bright twilight by the network’s cameras over Algonquin Park at a height of 45 km.

First detected by Western camera systems at an altitude of 90 km over Tobermory moving eastwards at 24 km/s, the meteoroid was initially roughly the size of a basketball. At its brightest, the fireball was almost as bright as the full moon. The long duration of the fireball (almost 10 seconds) was due to its very low entry angle (only 8 degrees from the horizontal).

Small meteorites are possible from this fireball, but will be difficult to find in the terrain of Algonquin Park.