Preliminary trajectory // Image courtesy: American Meteor Society
PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -
A fireball in the sky above the Pacific Northwest led dozens of people to report sightings to the American Meteor Society on Wednesday.
The FOX 12 newsroom started receiving reports of a bright light flashing across the sky around 6 a.m. Wednesday.
AMS experts said it appears the decent-sized meteor entered the Earth's atmosphere in Washington state, traveled in an east-to-west direction and landed in the Pacific Ocean.
"It went from one horizon to the other, never fading," said one witness.
A report out of Tigard said it "traveled east to west across the entire visible sky - very long."
Another witness, out of Gladstone, described it as "the longest lasting shooting star I've ever seen."
There were also reported sightings in British Columbia, Alberta, Montana and Washington. Because of cloud cover in the Seattle area, there were very few reported sightings there.
Experts at OMSI say a fireball is another term for a very bright meteor, generally brighter than magnitude -4, which is about the same magnitude of the planet Venus in the morning or evening sky.
Jim Todd, OMSI's director of space science education, says several thousand meteors of fireball magnitude occur in the Earth's atmosphere each day. The vast majority of these, he says, occur over the oceans and uninhabited regions, and many are masked by daylight.
A representative from NASA tells FOX 12 it is looking into the reports.
Thursday, August 21 2014 2:55 PM EDT2014-08-21 18:55:51 GMT
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