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NASA Explains Strange 'Fireball' in Louisiana

Oct 13, 2016 04:00 AM EDT
Bright Leonid Fireball
Residents of Luisiana witnessed a strange fireball yesterday morning; NASA confirmed that it was a meteor that lit the sky.
(Photo : Nasa/Getty Images)

Reports about a strange fireball that lit the Louisiana sky yesterday morning reached the authorities in St. Tammany Parish Sheriff's office. 

The strange fireball baffled many. Even local news organizations including TV and radio stations received reports of the strange event that occurred over the Lake Pontchartrain at 7:00am.

"The St. Tammany Parish Sheriff's Office received multiple calls around 7:00 a.m. this morning about a possible meteorite that was seen over Lake Pontchartrain," an official from the Sheriff's office said in a post. "People called reporting a strange green streak shoot across the sky. There was no indication or evidence that suggests it was a flare and we have no distress calls in the lake," the officer added in the post.

Read: NASA: Hubble Captures a Dying Star Shooting Giant Cannonballs of Plasma Into Space

Authorities led by Carlton Dufrechou of the Greater New Orleans Expressway Commission checked with NASA to confirm if the fireball was indeed a meteorite. According to the agency, it is more likely a meteor that has a speed of 90,000 mph.

The number of eyewitnesses increased within the day, however, NASA itself said that its cameras weren't able to capture the said fireball because it occurred during the daytime.  "Unfortunately the all sky cameras in the region had already shut down to protect themselves from the bright Sun, forcing us to rely solely on the eyewitness reports for trajectory analysis," a NASA official said in a statement.

The fireball was reportedly seen at 65 miles on top of Sawyersville in Alabama before it moved northwest at 89,000 miles per hour and then it reached the area of Louisville.

The National Weather Service in New Orleans also made a map of the location of eyewitnesses of the fireball. "If you saw a shooting star this morning then you aren't alone," NWS said in a tweet.

Apparently, it is more difficult for NASA to observe meteors during the daytime, as the bright light of the Sun prohibits the cameras to analyze the fireballs in the sky. But based on the observations of NASA scientists, the meteor is probably 5 lbs and approximately five inches in diameter.


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