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Fireball Over Ontario, Canada
London, ON -- A bright light that flashed across the sky in the London
region (Oct. 2) might have been caused by a fairly large meteoroid, a
University of Western Ontario astronomy professor says.
John Landstreet, whose interests include meteorites, asteroids and comets,
said the the kind of flash of light described by witnesses over a wide
area is typical of a rock ranging in size from a football to a garbage
can burning up in the atmosphere.
Provincial police reported calls about the phenomenon from the St. Thomas
area, Kerwood and Poplar Hills. Reports to The Free Press came from the
Strathroy and Mt. Brydges areas.
It was described as a blue and yellow flame accompanied by a ground-shaking
Mike Suto, a Straffordville resident, said he was sitting on his front
porch when a fireball soared northwest through the sky about 7:40 p.m.
"It had a tail to it and white smoke," Suto said. "It appeared
to burn up and it looked like things were dropping off."
Suto said he heard no noise but other witnesses did.
Landstreet said this kind of space rock would come screaming into the
atmosphere at 20 to 30 kilometres a second -- fast enough to travel from
London to Toronto in 10 seconds.
"It slams into the atmosphere very hard. There's an awful lot of
energy dissipated and the thing gets really hot . . . and boils of most
of its material. It's typically really bright for a few seconds."
Landstreet would be interested in recovering pieces of the object if
any are found.
Meteorologist Ed Reich at the National Weather Service office at Buffalo
Niagara International Airport said it was probably part of the October
Cetids, a small meteor shower that occurs at this time of year. -- Additional
comment taken from report in Buffalo