• January sunset floods Menemsha with pink light.
  • Albert O. Fischer

Fireball Meteor

A brilliant fireball meteor, as bright as the moon, shot across the sky early Sunday evening. It was seen as far north as Maine and a far south as the New Jersey. David Stanwood, who lives off Lambert’s Cove Road, in West Tisbury, saw it from the backyard of his house.

“At first I thought it was the lights of a jet nosing into the sound, then realized it was at least two large brilliant white fragments of a meteor streaking to the North,” Mr. Stanwood said. He said he watched it for about two seconds.

It was a precious moment. Mr. Stanwood said he was out tending to his chickens, putting them away for the night.

Mr. Stanwood has seen many meteors, also called falling stars. He is a casual amateur astronomer. As a boating enthusiast, he is used to being out on the water and seeing the stars overhead. " I've seen a fair number of meteors in my life. This was one of the most spectacular," he said.

A meteor is a piece of space debis, a particle usually no bigger than a dime, coming into the earth’s atmosphere at a high rate of speed. The particle burns up before it hits the ground. The earth is routinely hit by space debris and the impact is harmless.

Occasionally, the meteor is larger. Some are even really large.

Mr. Stanwood said with his experience, he thought of the meteor that hit Russia in February of 2013 and drew International attention: “It reminded me of the reports of the one over Russia,” Mr. Stanwood said.

In following the sighting, Mr. Stanwood said: “I actually stopped and listened, thinking I might hear a sonic boom.” He didn’t hear anything.

Reports of the fireball meteor came into the American Meteor Society. They maintain a website, amsmeteors.org. Subsequent to the reports, they have issued a news release about the sighting. They report that the meteor was spotted at 5:20 p.m. In extrapolating the direction where it was seen from all the reports, they think the meteor probably entered into the earth’s atmosphere over Vermont, just north of Pittsfield, Mass.

Sunrise and Sunset
Fri., Jan. 177:054:38
Sat., Jan. 187:054:39
Sun., Jan. 197:044:40
Mon., Jan. 207:034:41
Tues., Jan. 217:034:43
Wed., Jan. 227:024:44
Thurs., Jan. 237:014:45
Fri., Jan. 247:014:46

Temperatures and Precipitations
DayMax (Fº)Min (Fº)Inches
Jan. 1034130.01
Jan. 1148340.03
Jan. 1256420.87
Jan. 1347280.00
Jan. 1450280.00
Jan. 1552330.86
Jan. 164836T


Water temperature in Edgartown harbor: 44º F


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