Aug. 28 fireball from one of NASA’s All-Sky cameras. It’s so bright at the end the meteor completely saturates the detector.
A fabulously bright fireball, now estimated at magnitude -16 or some 20 times brighter than the full moon, lit up the sky over the southeastern U.S. around 2:27 a.m. CDT Aug. 28. Bill Cooke of NASA’s Meteoroid Environment Office reports that it’s the brightest event the office’s all-sky camera network has recorded since starting up five years ago.
Based on speed and brightness, the meteoroid’s original mass before it struck the atmosphere at 56,000 mph (90,000 km/hr) was around 240 lbs (109 kg) with a diameter rivaling that of a large exercise ball (3 feet or 1 meter).
Given its size and the report of sonic booms during the fireball’s passing, it’s possible meteorites may have landed on and near the meteor’s ground track in the vicinity of Ocoee in far southeastern Tennessee. Judging from the track map, the area looks like mixed farms and forest. People are already out looking as I write. Let’s hope someone reports strange black rocks where none should be.