The AMS received 133 reports so far and some spectacular videos displaying a fireball event that occurred over northern Arizona/southern Nevada Monday on Monday October 24, 2022, around 07:53 PM MDT (2022-10-25 01:53 Universal Time).
The initial computer generated trajectory of the AMS #2022-7315 event and the results of an analysis conducted by NASA show that the meteor was first sighted 48 miles (77km) above the White Hills in northwestern Arizona moving to the northwest at 30,500 miles per hour (49,000 km/h).
The object managed to survive traveling over 42 miles (67km) through the upper atmosphere before breaking up 28 miles (45km) above Boulder City in southern Nevada.
The meteor had two major fragmentation events, as the videos show two very bright flares near the end of its trajectory.
The fireball was brighter than the Full Moon, which means it was caused by an asteroidal fragment weighing at least 70 pounds (31kg) and greater than a foot (30cm) in diameter.
A fireball is a meteor that is larger and brighter than normal. Most meteors are only the size of tiny pebbles. A meteor the size of a softball can produce light equivalent to the full moon for a short instant. The reason for this is the extreme velocity at which these objects strike the atmosphere.
Even the slowest meteors are still traveling at 10 miles per SECOND, which is much faster than any round fired from a firearm. Fireballs occur every day over all parts of the Earth. We normally receive about 100 reports each day.
It is rare though for an individual to see more than one or two per lifetime as these short-lived events also occur during the day, on a cloudy night, or over a remote area where no one sees it.
Observing during one of the major annual meteor showers can increase your chance of seeing another one of these bright meteors even though, this event was’t from a known meteor shower. In this case, the meteor is called “sporadic”.
The map below displays just how widely this object was visible from 4 states: Arizona, Nevada, Utah and California.
Several thousand meteors of fireball magnitude occur in the Earth’s atmosphere each day. The vast majority of these, however, occur over the oceans and uninhabited regions, and a good many are masked by daylight. Those that occur at night also stand little chance of being detected due to the relatively low numbers of persons out to notice them.
Additionally, the brighter the fireball, the more rare is the event. As a general thumb rule, there are only about 1/3 as many fireballs present for each successively brighter magnitude class, following an exponential decrease.
Prepare now! Stock up on Iodine tablets for the next nuclear disaster…
Experienced observers can expect to see only about one fireball of magnitude -6 (crescent moon) or better for every 200 hours of meteor observing, while a fireball of magnitude -4 (Venus) can be expected about once every 20 hours or so. [AMS]