DALLAS, OR (KPTV) – The Polk County Sheriff’s Office is looking into what appears to be a fireball falling toward the earth in the southwest area of Polk County.
The sheriff's office and an expert at OMSI agree the stream of fire seen against the sunset sky Thursday evening is most likely a fireball, but at this point, they can't say for certain.
The sheriff’s office says the believed fireball, which is basically a really bright meteor, was first reported as a plane crash.
Jim Todd, the director of Space Science Education at OMSI, says it could be part of two meteor showers that are occurring right now. He says in all likelihood, the meteor could have started as the size of a car and become as small as a baseball upon entering earth's atmosphere.
He says fireballs are common, we just don't usually see them.
"These fireballs or meteors occur almost every day, but most of them are so far up, we don't notice them," Todd said. "This one was large enough to survive the entry to the point that we could see it."
Deputies Thursday night were working to figure out where the fireball might have landed. They asked for a Life Flight helicopter to fly over the area as a precaution.
Todd says it is rare for meteors to fall on land, but if it did, it would just look like a rock. He says anyone who saw or heard the believed fireball should report it to the American Meteor Society.
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