Doug Robinson caught a blue fireball flying over Boulder, Colorado on Sunday. “Everything was pitch dark, and all of a sudden it lit up as if it was a brightly lit moon,” said Robinson, who added that it charged his solar lights.
“Ten or 20 miles may not seem very close to the ground, but when we think about typical burning stars, we’re seeing things that are burning up 60 to 70 miles high,” he said.
“It’s unusual for such a large object,” Peterson, who is a research associate with the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. He said “usually 90 to 95 percent of the meteor burns up into dust, and pieces that reach the ground are between the size of gravel and a baseball.”
A fireball is another word for a bright meteor, generally brighter than magnitude -4, which is about the same magnitude of the planet Venus in the morning or evening sky, the American Meteor Society, Ltd. explained on its website.
“Several thousand meteors of fireball magnitude occur in the Earth’s atmosphere each day. The vast majority of these, however, occur over the oceans and uninhabited regions, and a good many are masked by daylight. Those that occur at night also stand little chance of being detected due to the relatively low numbers of persons out to notice them.”