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Utah Travel Headlines Blog

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Spectacular Lightshow As Meteor Hits Utah

A large meteor exploded over Utah early Wednesday morning, creating a fireball and light plumes that were seen from many points around the Western US.

After exploding, the fragments produced intense light as they burned while coming through earth's atmosphere. Apparently one or more fragments hit ground in Utah's west desert - probably on military land in Dugway Proving Grounds.

Many news articles have been published about the meteor. KSL has photos and a video, along with text descriptions. Below are excerpts.

At exactly 12:07, people from all over the western United States watched as the bolide meteor crashed into Earth's atmosphere. In some areas, the flash of light was so bright it caused light-sensor street lamps to shut off.

"I'm currently driving, but I just saw a giant blue flash in the sky, and it came down into the city," a caller from Ogden said.

A caller in Bountiful told dispatchers, "It flashed from the west, and it lit up the whole freakin' neighborhood."

Don White was in Wyoming and told KSL Newsradio for a moment he suspected a nuclear strike. "With something that brilliant and that fast, it was like, whoa, did we just get hit or something? It would have been some bigger noise I guess if a nuclear device had gone off," he said.

When a meteor enters the atmosphere, it gives off a lot of heat and light. Folks at the Clark Planetarium say this rock was big--between the size of a microwave and washer-dryer unit.

The Deseret News has this report. Below are excepts.

Patrick Wiggins, NASA Ambassador to Utah, said a seismologist has contacted him and believes the meteor impacted Utah's west desert.

The seismologist said he triangulated the terminal burst location based on seven Utah seismic stations, and his calculations put it in the general vicinity of Granite Peak in Tooele County, about 30 miles southwest of Dugway.

"Unfortunately, that puts it on Dugway Proving Grounds, so I doubt anyone will be doing a search there anytime soon, though one person said he's going to see if permission for an expedition could be arranged."

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