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The Vancouver Island fireballs of spring 1998

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published

Journal publication date11/2000
JournalPublications of the astronomical society of the pacific
Journal number777
Volume112
Number of pages9
Pages1487-1495
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Three fireballs bright enough to attract the attention of numerous witnesses over Vancouver Island and adjacent areas appeared within an interval of 5 weeks. Each was investigated by in situ interviews of eyewitnesses and instrumental measurement of angles. Although recovery of meteorites is unlikely from any of them, and only two of the investigations yielded credible atmospheric trajectories or ground tracks, it is felt to be useful to place the original measurements on permanent record. In addition, in this paper we advocate the use of a consistent and self-explanatory nomenclature for the geometrical description of the track of a fireball. One of the fireballs was remarkable for the number of independent reports of simultaneous sound described by eyewitnesses, and we feel it is important to place on record the circumstances of events described to us. Although the reality of this often-reported phenomenon is not universally accepted, the body of accumulated anecdotal evidence is by now formidable. However, unambiguous instrumental detection of simultaneous sound has yet to be convincingly achieved.