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Holy sky-on-fire, Batman! Here's a little video taken by the University of Utah's observatory on Frisco Peak, presumably an automated camera. Watch how this fireball changes night into day:



Apparently, it was visible all over the western USA, with people reporting sightings across Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, and Idaho. I'm so envious! Skies in Kansas were cloudy last night... but it's clear today. Although this happened during the Leonids, this fireball was not a Leonid meteor. Scientists suspect a small asteroid that exploded when it hit Earth's atmosphere, releasing the equivalent of a kiloton of TNT. That's some serious interplanetary warfare, folks. Imagine if it had exploded a little lower in the atmosphere, especially over a city?

We are tiny creatures who dwell on the surface of a small planet that's hurtling through the cosmos along with billions of other objects. Once in a while, we collide. Often we get to watch a pretty meteor shower, sometimes we have the thrill of a fireball, and once in a while - frequently in terms of the life of the Earth - we experience ecosystem-destroying asteroid impacts. This one sits right between those last two.

Here's the aftermath, still visible in the morning sky:

Click the image to see the story.

EDIT: Lots more videos on this Utah news site.

Astro-porn indeed!

Chris

Comments

( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
mckitterick
Nov. 20th, 2009 06:27 pm (UTC)
As soon as I saw them, I HAD to share! It's my duty as a sentient being.
(Deleted comment)
siro_gravity
Nov. 19th, 2009 07:15 pm (UTC)
wow wow wow wow WOOOOOOOOW!!!!
omg, how much i wish i had seen it!!
mckitterick
Nov. 20th, 2009 06:27 pm (UTC)
I KNOW! I know!
bammba_m
Nov. 19th, 2009 11:34 pm (UTC)
Holy crap, awesome!
mckitterick
Nov. 20th, 2009 06:26 pm (UTC)
Isn't it, though?
tmseay
Nov. 19th, 2009 11:35 pm (UTC)
Oh, good, maybe you can explain this: http://cjonline.com/news/state/2009-11-19/scientist_confirms_meteorite

"[Biophysicist Don] Stimpson saw the rock during a visit to Liberal Tuesday. He says it likely came from the atmosphere around the sun and fell as far as 100 million miles."

The atmosphere around the sun? Fell 100 million miles? WTF?
mckitterick
Nov. 20th, 2009 08:47 am (UTC)
Um. Let's see... this genius also describes the value of the rocks at the end of the article, so I think you have your explanation right there.

Everyone knows that such rocks orbit 100 million miles from the Sun. And come from its atmosphere. Where you also find Venusians deluging in the afternoon nano.
clevermanka
Nov. 20th, 2009 06:13 pm (UTC)
Wow! I'm glad I had a chance to watch these (finally). My favorite bit of information from the article, though? Now knowing that people from Utah are called "Utahns."
mckitterick
Nov. 20th, 2009 06:26 pm (UTC)
You pronounce it with an extra syllable between "Utah" and "ns": Utah'ns.
clevermanka
Nov. 20th, 2009 06:44 pm (UTC)
I like "You-tans" better.
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )