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No. 69: May-Jun 1990

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A Trio Of Strange Meteors

January 25, 1990. Western North America

"While residents from Anka to Mankato were calling radio stations Thursday to report the sighting of a bright, slow-moving light in the pre-dawn sky, people across the western half of the nation were doing the same thing."

"Most eyewitnesses in the spectacle, which was reported over a 12hour period from a number of locations, said it was greenish, although some said it was turquoise, or white, or had an orange tail."

(McAuliffe, Bill; "Was It Junk? Maybe So. But It Sure Lit Up the Sky," Minneapolis Star-Tribune, January 26, 1990. Cr. R. PanLener via L. Farish.)

Comment. Color changes are not uncommon in meteor sightings. However, the slowness of this meteor was remarkable.

January 27, 1990. U.S. Midatlantic States.

"Thousands of people in the Eastern United States reported seeing a strange bluish-green light in the sky Saturday night, which some experts said could have been an unusually large meteorite.

"In North Carolina, Jim Iodice, who was flying a Cessna 172 over Pilot Muntain Saturday night said that he saw a 'glowing, yellowishblue light' between 7 and 7:30 p.m. that appeared to be near the plane. The object was descending in a northeast direction toward Martinsville, Va., but it leveled off at about 3,000 feet, flew at the same altitude for several hundred yards, then changed to a southward direction, Iodice said."

(Anonymous; "In the Dark," WinstonSalem Journal, January 29, 1990. Cr. G. Fawcett via L. Farish.)

Comment. In this case, the changes in direction are anomalous.

February 18, 1990. Northeastern U.S.

"Reports of a fireball that blazed through the skies over the Northeast on Sunday, changing colors and even executing a fiery loop before vanishing, have been filtering into local agencies, a Museum of Science official said yesterday.

"Observers from Nova Scotia to New Jersey reported the spectacular fireball, which they said was visible for more than 10 seconds at 7:30 p.m. Sunday in the southeastern sky."

(Saltus, Richard; "Looping Fireball Dazzled Observers in Northeast," Boston Globe, February 23, 1990. Cr. B. Greenwood.)

Comment. Fireballs and meteors do not normally execute loops.

Reference. The anomalies of meteors in flight are cataloged in AYO in the catalog: The Sun and Solar System Debris. For ordering information, visit: here.

From Science Frontiers #69, MAY-JUN 1990. � 1990-2000 William R. Corliss