EUGENE, Ore. — A Springfield woman told KEZI 9 News she saw a meteor right here in our area Thursday night. So could this sighting be related to the astronomical event in Russia?
Jerry Oltion with the Eugene Astronomical Society says meteorites aren’t rare, but he says all this activity happening around the same time is definitely impressive.
Driving north on I-5, something unusual caught Springfield resident Stephanie King’s eye.
‘(I) noticed this great big ball of fire in the sky. It lasted two to three seconds, and then it was gone,” King said.
She said it was something simply out of this world.
“We thought this is got to be a meteor–a small one,” King said.
So was it? We asked Oltion.
“She probably saw a meteorite, and it was probably moving toward her. If it’s moving toward you, it doesn’t look like it’s moving as fast, which, when you think about it, is scarier,” Oltion said.
If King saw a meteor, could it be linked to this one that landed in Russia?
“NASA has determined that the fireball that hit Russia came in from the north and was going south. If it was part of a cluster of meteors that hit the Earth at the same time, if this one that the woman in Eugene saw was also going North to South, it’s likely she saw part of the same cluster,” Oltion said.
As Oltion explained this astronomical event, he held a piece of an identified meteorite in his hand. It’s heavy and has a melted look.
“Most any meteorite that hits the ground is going to look like this–little sculpted bits torn out of it by the atmosphere,” Oltion said.
He says this is what the remnants of the Russia meteorite most likely resemble.
“So when you watch that meteor come in, you watch it get brighter and brighter, and then you see an explosion, just a huge explosion, and that’s when the meteor gave up. That’s when all the pieces had their own individual explosions,” Oltion said.
The meteors, coupled with an asteroid passing by Earth, made for some pretty spectacularly stellar signs in the past 24 hours.
“Dozens of people caught it. All I can say is it’s neat. I’m glad we live in such a connected society,” Oltion said.
“Yes, I don’t think I’ll ever see something like that again. That’s for sure,” King said.
The Eugene Astronomical Society has star watching parties at College Hill Reservoir every month. There’s one Friday, Feb. 15, but it might be canceled due to the overcast skies. Although, Oltion says if you have a big enough telescope and clear skies, you could possible see that asteroid.