If you see a fireball:

When a solid object enters the Earth's
atmosphere, it interacts with air molecules,
heats up to over 2000 degrees Fahrenheit,
and begins to glow.  The incandescent object
is called a meteor. 

Most meteors are produced by incoming
microscopic particles of dust left
behind by the passage of comets. These produce periodic meteor showers (see list maintained
by the American Meteor Society).
Occasionally, a larger object enters the
Earth's atmosphere, producing a very bright
meteor.  If the meteor is brighter than the
planet Venus, it is called a fireball. A bright
fireball will produce meteorites (which may or
may not be found).

 When there are a sufficient number of
eyewitness reports of a fireball, meteoriticists
can often determine the location where the
resulting meteorite(s) landed and meteorite
samples can be recovered.

If you see a fireball in the Pacific Northwest,
please fill out the fireball
report form (click here for form) and mail it to
the Cascadia Meteorite Laboratory
(address on the form) or phone Dick Pugh
at (503) 287-6733.

Tagish Lake Fireball of January 18, 2000

Artist's rendition of the Tagish Lake Fireball
by Beet Korner, used with permission of the 
University of Ontario website for the Tagish Lake Meteorite/Fireball Investigation:
Click here for reference

February 19, 2008 Fireball

December 24, 2007 Fireball

March 12, 2005 Fireball eyewitness account

June 3, 2004 Fireball Consortium

Cascadia Meteorite Laboratory report for consortium on
June 3, 2004 Fireball (pdf)

Link to American Meteor Society homepage.

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Page last modified June 23, 2018