A meteor explosion shocked some Arizona residents on Tuesday night, Dec 10th, when a loud sonic boom and bright lights streaked across the sky.
“The explosion could be heard from Tucson to as far away as Las Vegas, Nev.,” ABC15.com reported.
Apparently it’s just a forerunner to the Geminid meteor shower expected to put on quite a show in the overnight hours from Dec. 13 to 14. Spectators in dark areas should be able to see anywhere from 90 to 120 meteors per hour. Geminid will be located near the constellation Gemini – hence the name – and is one of the most magnificent meteor showers to see.
“It [the meteor explosion] was picked up by two of our meteor cameras in New Mexico as well as cameras in Arizona and the preliminary trajectory shows that it was definitely not a Geminid,” NASA meteor expert Bill Cooke told reporters Wednesday. “It was moving way too slow and coming from the wrong direction. A Geminid moves at 78,000 mph,” he said. “And the direction it came from was not typical for a meteor from the big shower.”
But this meteor was a big one – weighing approximately 100 pounds and estimated at 16 inches thick.
It is not known yet if the meteor hit the ground. Although meteor hunters are scouring the ground in Tuscon, AZ and asking residents to inform Robert Ward, so that they might inspect it to try to determine the course the meteor took.
If you live in the dark sky area and want to observe the Geminids – NASA can tell you where to look, and when! For those without dark skies, a live Ustream feed of the skies over Marshall Space Flight Center will be embedded on the NASA page.
Image via YouTube