Meteor (potential meteorite) seen and heard Sunday afternoon

Weather Talk

Did you hear a LOUD boom Sunday afternoon? Chief Meteorologist Dan Skoff tells us what it may have been

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA) — MANY of you heard a boom💥Sunday afternoon, August 11, around 5:10 p.m. (CDT). After hearing several reports last night, I decided to do a little investigative work trying to figure out what it was.

My first thought is that it was a sonic boom from a potential meteor. We are in the middle of the Perseid Meteor Shower this week and that offers a great chance to see fireballs at night, but this event happened during bright daylight.

Well, here’s my research.

It has been confirmed by the American Meteor Society what you saw and heard a little after 5 p.m. is known as a fireball bolide meteor. A fireball is a bright meteor and a bolide is when the meteor explodes. There’s a good chance this meteor may have reached the ground somewhere in southern Missouri.

Meteor Terminology on American Meteor Society

If it was in fact a fireball meteor it would show up on GOES Geostationary Lightning Mapper (GLM). Let’s look at the data.

GOES-16 GLM (Geostationary Lightning Mapper) Data (courtesy: Steve Cobb NWS Tulsa)
Data Time Between 5:05-5:06 pm CDT
Clear Radar with No Storms in SW MO.

Well, the #GOES16 GLM data confirmed a FLASH (flash density) in SW Missouri with NO STORMS even close between 5:05 p.m. to 5:06 p.m. CDT. Looking at high-resolution (mesosector 1) visible satellite data, you can see the abundant cirrus clouds over SW Missouri from a decaying cluster of storms in the morning. The resolution wasn’t high enough to see a potential vapor trail though.

Small seismic activity circled just before 5:11 pm CDT (22:11 UTC) at Hobbs State Park Helicorder. Larger red activity is from a 3.3 small earthquake in eastern OK near Quinton.

Since it was a bolide meteor, many of you heard the shock wave from the sonic boom or explosion of the meteor. You can also see the shock wave on the seismograph. It shows up just before 5:11 p.m. at the Hobbs State Park helicorder. The math makes sense if the meteor(ite) was located in SW Missouri. The sound would have taken approximately four minutes for it to travel 48 miles (every 5 seconds = approx 1 mile for the speed of sound).

UPDATE: We have VIDEO confirmation of this meteor from Brett Cooper below. “This was facing south, and the bolide was to the SSE. It was extremely high in the atmosphere, no sound due to the distance. Which would likely have placed it in the Springfield region. This video was captured at US169, just north of K68, looking south. Video description has a GPS coordinate where the video first captured flare shown up.”

So, now it’s time for you to help out. There’s a good chance some of this matter from out of this world has made it to the earth. Help out those meteorite hunters, let us know if you saw anything, heard a boom or booms 💥 and at exactly what time. The best thing you can do is make a detailed report on the American Meteor Society website. https://fireball.amsmeteors.org/members/imo/report_intro/

I’ve already received a ton of reports in the comments of my original Facebook post on my page this morning. The more quality reports the American Meteor Society receives from eyewitnesses, the better the chance of tracking down where the potential meteorite landed.

Earlier today, I had an exclusive interview with Stephen Edberg, who is a retired professional astronomer. Scott Roberts from Explore Scientific in Springdale also joined in on the Skype call.

Keep it here with Weather Authority for the latest cool science stuff and more updates. — Chief “Meteor”ologist Dan Skoff.

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