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Morning boom probably meteor, USC-Aiken astronomer says

Friday, March 20, 2009 10:24 AM
Last updated Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2010 12:58 AM
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AIKEN – You weren’t imagining things if you heard a loud boom between 2 and 3 a.m. this morning.

Dr. Gary Senn, director of the Dupont Planetarium in the Ruth Patrick Science Education Center at USC Aiken, says it was a large meteor, technically called a bolide.

“We’ve had a couple of calls this morning from people,” he said. “It seems like a few people were outside and actually saw the thing itself. Others reported hearing the sound.”

He said people have reported the sound to be like a clap of thunder. Sightings were of a large fireball in the sky.

About the same time as the boom was heard, a brief power outage occurred at the Medical College of Georgia Hospital at 2:41 a.m., according to hospital officials. However, spokeswoman Deborah Humphrey said there is no evidence it had anything to do with the boom.

“It appears to be coincidental,” she said.

Dr. Senn said it’s possible the meteor could have struck the ground somewhere in the area, but it all depends on whether it exploded upon entering the atmosphere – which could have caused the loud boom – or whether it hit at an angle that left it intact.

If it stayed intact, he said the loud sound people heard could have been that of a sonic boom.

“It’s very rare, but occasionally if a large enough bolide enters at the right angle it can create a sonic boom,” he said.

Dr. Senn said sightings of large fireballs in the sky are somewhat rare, but have occurred before in the Augusta area.

He said those who saw or heard this morning’s fireball are asked to visit the Web site www.amsmeteors.org and file a fireball sighting report. From there, the American Meteor Society will use the information to help it determine where the meteor might have collided, should it have survived the entry into the atmosphere. The report can be found on the site by clicking on “fireball sightings” and then scrolling to the bottom to the link “fireball reporting form.”

Reach Preston Sparks at (803) 648-1395, ext. 110 or preston.sparks@augustachronicle.co

Comments (58) Add comment
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shilex
0
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shilex 03/20/09 - 11:29 am
0
0
I, for one, welcome our new

I, for one, welcome our new Meteor overlords!

142
Points
Dan White 03/20/09 - 11:31 am
0
0
It rattled our windows and

It rattled our windows and our dogs went nuts. We thought it was an earthquake!

RU4Real
0
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RU4Real 03/20/09 - 11:39 am
0
0
I slept right through it.

I slept right through it.

gagirl40
113
Points
gagirl40 03/20/09 - 11:45 am
0
0
Ditto Greenjacket! We thought

Ditto Greenjacket! We thought someone was trying to bust down the door or something!

kobrien26
0
Points
kobrien26 03/20/09 - 11:50 am
0
0
Yesterday between 5-6pm . We

Yesterday between 5-6pm . We were standing outside and heard a loud boom also. It was like a boom or something. we didnt see anything. But it was weird . This was in the mcbean area.

lmulrain1
0
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lmulrain1 03/20/09 - 12:06 pm
0
0
I was in the house and I

I was in the house and I heard the sonic boom, clearly a sonic boom it has a distinct sound. The house shook and I thought the base here was testing a new aircraft. I am in Evans,GA. I did look outside afterward and noticed clouds of some formation coming from outside the Stratford subdivision on Hardy Mcmanus. Don't know if it was realated. The wind seemed to be blowing at a fast paced this is why the cloud formation seemed so perplexing.

soldout
1280
Points
soldout 03/20/09 - 12:18 pm
0
0
no, it is not true it hit in

no, it is not true it hit in a section of Augusta and made two million dollars worth of improvements...just a rumor.

tee-tee
0
Points
tee-tee 03/20/09 - 12:47 pm
0
0
It woke me up out of my sleep

It woke me up out of my sleep because it made my whole house shake. All I can say is that it was scary.

mr-meteorite
0
Points
mr-meteorite 03/20/09 - 01:04 pm
0
0
Good Morning, My name is

Good Morning, My name is Ruben Garcia http://www.mr-meteorite.net and I work with a team of Professional Meteorite hunters. We just returned from a successful meteorite recovery effort in West, Texas. We work closely with Universities, Museums and Scientists to recover meteorites for study and teaching purposes. Having just heard of the fireball near Augusta we are very interested in knowing if anyone has reported meteorites hitting the gound, broken windows, cracked winshields, etc... Any additiional information that you can provide us with would be appeciated. Thanks, meteoritemall@yahoo.com

drumbeater1
1
Points
drumbeater1 03/20/09 - 01:12 pm
0
0
mr-meteorite, sorry everyone

mr-meteorite, sorry everyone in augusta was worried about trees falling, no time to sweat a meteorite !!

mable8
2
Points
mable8 03/20/09 - 01:16 pm
0
0
I heard the boom and thougt

I heard the boom and thougt hearing thunder was rather odd! Glad to know the reason for this.

My_2nd
0
Points
My_2nd 03/20/09 - 01:20 pm
0
0
i heard it...scared the crap

i heard it...scared the crap out of me.

actually i thought it was the sound of our economy collapsing.

glass houses
0
Points
glass houses 03/20/09 - 01:40 pm
0
0
The boom and vibration woke

The boom and vibration woke me up out of a dead sleep near Greenbrier/Evans. I thought it was thunder as well and then realized that the sky was clear.

aj269
0
Points
aj269 03/20/09 - 01:55 pm
0
0
My husband and I heard

My husband and I heard something, but after going outside there was no smoke or fire and that was after riding around looking for it and dispatch had no clue as to what it was either. We live out in Aiken.

My_2nd
0
Points
My_2nd 03/20/09 - 02:28 pm
0
0
lmulrain1 - what base? Ft.

lmulrain1 - what base? Ft. Gordon? not too many supersonic aircraft there pal. geeze! nice comment though...it was probably hypersonic swamp gas coming from that area. if i were you i would stay up all night for the next 5 nights and try to video tape it. good luck!

My_2nd
0
Points
My_2nd 03/20/09 - 02:40 pm
0
0
i think i found

i think i found it....standby....wait.

nope....dog poop. sorry! the hunt continues.

FallingLeaves
27
Points
FallingLeaves 03/20/09 - 02:45 pm
0
0
LOL. Could it be any

LOL. Could it be any leftover debris from the two satellites (one American and one Russian) that collided with each other not too long ago? Anyway, I woke up, but I had no idea what woke me up, it must have stopped the light and noise by the time I became aware, as I was in deep sleep. I am in 30906. Did anyone else notice anything unusual in my area?

dhd1108
1
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dhd1108 03/20/09 - 02:57 pm
0
0
it was probably commissioner

it was probably commissioner jerry brigham falling down

mr-meteorite
0
Points
mr-meteorite 03/20/09 - 03:10 pm
0
0
My team of meteorite hunters

My team of meteorite hunters and I will pay for any meteorites recovered from this fireball. If you have found a newly fallen meteorite in your yard, on your roof, etc... contact me. These meteorites will probably be black (with a burned appearence) on the exterior and a white interior.

My email
Meteoritemall@yahoo.com

karenlyss
3
Points
karenlyss 03/20/09 - 03:26 pm
0
0
i heard it in 30907 around

i heard it in 30907 around 2something in the morning. i thought it was thunder but then i realized my whole house was shaking and dont remember weather.com saying it would rain this week. i got freaked out but fell right back to sleep!

SargentMidTown
8
Points
SargentMidTown 03/20/09 - 03:33 pm
0
0
I awoke this at about 3:00

I awoke this at about 3:00 A.M. this morning wringing wet speaking in an unknown tongue.We are living in the last days and the lord is going to give the infidels an asbestos body to burn in for eternity. Even if they are beheaded first! chat la duk uhl al kir lir loene lines li'lere lirreor

SargentMidTown
8
Points
SargentMidTown 03/20/09 - 03:43 pm
0
0
Oh my god....That hunk of

Oh my god....That hunk of chocolate wrapped in tin foil that I ate last night was Ex lax

me too
0
Points
me too 03/20/09 - 03:51 pm
0
0
LOL Sarg!

LOL Sarg!

karly778
0
Points
karly778 03/20/09 - 03:59 pm
0
0
I was up from 1:00 am until

I was up from 1:00 am until 4:00am on Mar.20,2009 and I heard a boom sounding like an explosion. At the time of the incident I was in Beech Island, SC 29842. At first I thought It was a transformer blown, because we lost power for about 2 minutes.

cuurlytopp
0
Points
cuurlytopp 03/20/09 - 04:21 pm
0
0
I heard the boom sometime

I heard the boom sometime between 2 and 3 a.m. My dog thought it was thunder and proceeded to shake the bed so badly, I couldn't tell you if the house was shaking or not!! I am in the 30815 area.

pumpkinpie
0
Points
pumpkinpie 03/20/09 - 04:39 pm
0
0
i heard the boom around 2:45

i heard the boom around 2:45 a.m.sound like someone had a bad accident,it vibrated the house.i was waiting to hear sirens,but fell asleep.i'm in the 30904 area

aftbrn
0
Points
aftbrn 03/20/09 - 05:05 pm
0
0
I heeard it over in Martinez,

I heeard it over in Martinez, thought they were blasting again out at the old quarry. Shook the house flash of light like lightning and a defening cracking sound.

FallingLeaves
27
Points
FallingLeaves 03/20/09 - 05:28 pm
0
0
Something woke me up about

Something woke me up about that time, but we have so many people visiting at the house next door 24/7 with loud booming cars, I figured it was just one of the less noisy ones sliding around the corner real quick and went back to sleep without noting the exact time. Apparently it was louder than boom boom cars in areas possibly closer to the source of the sound. I'm reading reports from here to Alpharetta Georgia (170 miles NW of here). As heavily populated as that area is (north of Atlanta) maybe there is a security camera with video or still picture of it!

TrukinRanger
1748
Points
TrukinRanger 03/20/09 - 05:58 pm
0
0
I heard... and saw it... it
Unpublished

I heard... and saw it... it WAS a meteorite..

peach66
0
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peach66 03/20/09 - 07:17 pm
0
0
I didnt heard no boom,put i

I didnt heard no boom,put i heard sirens though. This was about 12:00-1:00. So i fell back to sleep and woke up at 6:00 to turn on the news. And they sayed there was a big boom. My question is where did the meteorite hit? Instead thank God hope nobody got hurt.

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