Huge fireball may have dropped meteorites in Tennessee

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.

Still frame from the video. Credit: NASA / ASGARD

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).

The ground track shows where the fireball flew over and where it could have dropped meteorites. Credit: NASA / Google Maps

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.

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About astrobob

My name is Bob King and I work at the Duluth News Tribune in Duluth, Minn. as a photographer and photo editor. I'm also an amateur astronomer and have been keen on the sky since age 11. My modest credentials include membership in the American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO) where I'm a regular contributor, International Meteorite Collectors Assn. and Arrowhead Astronomical Society. I also teach community education astronomy classes at our local planetarium.

5 thoughts on “Huge fireball may have dropped meteorites in Tennessee

  1. We drove through that area for the first time in late May. Over 1000 miles from home. I had almost forgotten about the triple planetary conjunction till I saw 2 of the bright planets together, Venus and Jupiter if I remember correctly.

  2. Thanx Bob for all the posts as always. Did someone post on web an amateur movie of this fireball? I mean, like the movies you shared about the Aug21 fireball: such movies give an idea of what one saw on place.
    And another obvious question: any relation between the two events?

  3. I saw something massive and green tonight in Niota Tn, its 10-20-2014 a massive meteorite green headed toward watts bar tva area seemed to be breaking up. I have found several meteorites in the past i have a collection of about 30

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