Saturday, November 22, 2008


A brilliant green fireball startled onlookers across western Canada on Nov. 20th (5:30 pm MST) when it split the evening sky and fragmented during a series of thunderous explosions. The nature of the object is uncertain. The slow pace of the fireball favors decaying space junk and indeed it may have been a Soyuz rocket body reentering Earth's atmosphere a day earlier than expected. The Soyuz rocket launched a Russian Defense Ministry reconnaissance satellite codenamed Kosmos-2445 on Nov. 14th. We cannot yet rule out the possibility that this was a small asteroid disintegrating in Earth's atmosphere; in the statistics of fireballs, asteroids outnumber rocket bodies by a wide margin.

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