Fireball spotted in the sky over Portland Metro

Credit: Darlisa Black wtih Starlisa Black Photography

Fireball spotted in the sky over Portland Metro


by Nina Mehlhaf and Jeff Thompson, KGW Staff

Bio | Email | Follow: @NinaMehlhaf

Posted on October 30, 2013 at 8:29 AM

Updated Monday, Dec 16 at 6:37 PM

PORTLAND -- Several people in the Portland Metro area reported seeing a fireball in the sky early Wednesday morning, moving east to west.

Three different viewers contacted KGW to say they had seen it just before 6 a.m.

"I was out walking my dog this morning around 5:55 a.m. and saw what looked like someone lit a tennis ball on fire and threw it," viewer John Kisling said. "It took a couple seconds to traverse the sky."

Portlander Tony King told KGW he saw the fireball from his back porch Wednesday morning and it took several seconds to move "across the whole sky, from east to west, along the horizon line."

Dick Pugh of Portland State University's Cascadia Meteorite Labratory told KGW it was a piece of an asteroid burning up when it hit the atmosphere.

"Fireballs are not uncommon," said Pugh. "The question is: Did it make it all the way down?"

Pugh said most pieces of "space debris" burn up when they hit the atmosphere. But some push through and hit the ground, becoming meteorites. Those are accompanied by a loud sound.

Witnesses in the Portland area Wednesday agreed the fireball was silent.

Did you see it Wednesday morning? Send your pics and video here!

Pugh said several other sightings in San Francisco earlier this week and other "major fireballs" around the world show that Earth is likely going through a debris field from a leftover comet.

Click here to see the latest map of fireball reports from AMS

Click FAQ: Fireballs in the sky (courtesy PSU)

One Twitter user posted a photo of the fireball over the Netherlands last night and another caught the phenomenon over Scotland. And someone in Colombia caught a fireball on cell phone video last Friday (video below).  


If you see a meteor, the Cascadia Meteorite Laboratory would love to hear from you.