Meteor Reported In Eastern Oklahoma

Wednesday, January 12th 2011, 9:50 am
By: News 9

Jed Castles & Jon Jordan, News 9

POTEAU, Oklahoma-- A huge fireball was reported Tuesday night at 8:45 p.m. across eastern Oklahoma. It was seen moving from southeast to northwest from as far away as Florida to Oklahoma.

Sonic booms were heard in central and eastern Arkansas. A bright blue-green light lit up the entire sky.

According to Alan Broerse, News 9 Stormtracker and amateur astronomer, it was probably the size of a washing machine when it entered the earth's atmosphere.

No impact site has been reported yet or confirmed, but it would possibly be in eastern Oklahoma or western Arkansas.

"I heard the Yolk County deputies talking about it. I called them and told them that I saw the same light ‘cause one officer was saying it came from this way and another officer said ‘Well I saw it from this way.' And I was like ‘I live in Harvey and I saw it way over here.' So I've got no clue what it was," said Cara Hunnicut, a Scott County, Arkansas dispatcher.

Astronomers like Wayne Harris-Wyrick say the light was caught on a number of surveillance cameras, appearing more like a flash, and was most likely a meteor.

"They move at such speed that they create a light that they create a lot of energy in the atmosphere and that makes the air heat up and glow and we see it as a streak of light," said Wayne Harris-Wyrick, Director and staff astronomer of the Kirkpatrick Planetarium.

Harris-Wyrick said the meteor isn't uncommon, in fact he said more than 20 tons or 40,000 pounds of material from space land on earth every day. The unusual part however is actually seeing it.

"Something that bright visible from that great of distance from Florida to Oklahoma and visible that entire time, and so bright that it was almost blinding to the camera…That is unusual," said the astronomer.

Harris-Wyrick hopes now someone is able to find traces of the meteor.

"If we can actually find a piece from that, that survived to reach the ground, that will tell us something about the early stages of our solar system and that is interesting to astronomers like myself," he said.

Harris-Wyrick said out of all the meteors that have made it to earth, there is only one known account of a person actually being hit by one. In that case the meteor actually bounced and hit the woman in the leg.