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‘Wow, it was bright’: Big boom and fireball rattles upstate New York - and plenty of windows

New York Daily News logo New York Daily News 12/3/2020 Cathy Burke
a night sky with stars: Meteor shower © Scott Cramer Meteor shower

Meteors and fireballs and noon-time booms, oh boy.

A disintegrating meteor likely triggered a thundering boom in upstate New York on Wednesday, an organization in western New York reported.

Robert Lunsford, a “fireball report coordinator” with the American Meteor Society said a meteor blew up over Syracuse, creating the big boom and an impressive light show, the Associated Press reported. Another sky-watcher reported seeing the fireball over Niagara.

a night sky with stars: Meteor shower © Provided by New York Daily News Meteor shower

Meteor shower (Scott Cramer/)

“Wow, it was bright!” Scott Sutherland marveled.


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By 5 p.m., the meteor organization had recorded 90 reports of the fireball seen in Maryland, Michigan, New York, Ontario, Pennsylvania and Virginia, the AP reported.

The celestial commotion had police agencies and fire departments around central New York busy with 911 calls about shaking windows caused by the noise. Clouds shrouded the fireball from view in much of the area, however.

Lundsford told the AP that since most reports of the boom were around Syracuse, that’s likely where the meteor blew up.

On the society’s website, an observer in western New York reported the fireball was bright white with shades of yellow. An observer in Hagerstown, Md. reported a fireball with red and orange sparks, smoke and a persistent train. A report from Welland, Ontario, described a long, bright green train.

“Sunny day so it looked like a gold metallic flash against the blue sky,” said a report from Winchester, Va.

Margaret Campbell-Brown, a member of the Meteor Physics Group at Western University in London, told the AP that fireballs are real attention-getters at night.

“They stand out better,” she told the news agency. “But it’s not terribly unusual for very bright ones to be noticed during the day. It happens several times a year over populated areas.”

She explained that all fireballs — which are bright meteors ― produce sound waves. A big one can produce a thunderlike sonic boom with possible extra bangs from fragmentation, she added.

With News Wire Services

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