Fireball passes through southern US sky, NASA scientists confirm

Fireball passes through southern US sky, NASA scientists confirm

NASA scientists confirmed the passage of a fireball that crossed the sky at full speed over three southern states of the United States and was followed by a loud rumble. According to NASA this Thursday  , more than 30 people in Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi reported seeing the exceptionally bright meteor around 8 a.m. Wednesday, after hearing thunder in Claiborne County, Mississippi, and neighboring areas. It was initially detected 54 miles above the Mississippi River near Alcorn, officials said.

The object, which scientists called a fireball, was moving southwest at a speed of 88,500 kilometers per hour, breaking up as it descended into the Earth’s atmosphere. It disintegrated about 55 kilometers over a swampy area north of the Louisiana community of Minorca. “A basketball-sized orange fireball with a white tail moving west toward the Mississippi River.”

This is how a witness described it to the Vicksburg Post. The Claiborne County Emergency Management Agency posted a message on Facebook confirming the reports and noting that the Grand Gulf Nuclear Station was not involved.

“Citizens of Claiborne County, local officials are aware of loud noise heard throughout the county,” the message said. “The Grand Gulf Nuclear Station was not involved in this event and the site is safe, there is no threat to the county and no action is necessary.”

As reported by NASA, the fragmentation of the fireball generated enough energy to generate disturbances that were felt on the ground , with rumbling and vibrations perceived by people in the area. She added that, at its peak, the fireball was 10 times brighter than a full moon.

“What struck me as unusual was that we had so few witnesses seeing it, considering the sky was so clear,” Cooke said. “There are more who heard it than those who saw it,” he concluded.

Bruce Dorminey
I'm a science journalist and host of Cosmic Controversy ( as well as author of "Distant Wanderers: the Search for Planets Beyond the Solar System."  I primarily cover aerospace and astronomy. I’m a former Hong Kong bureau chief for Aviation Week & Space Technology magazine and former Paris-based technology correspondent for the Financial Times newspaper who has reported from six continents. A 1998 winner in the Royal Aeronautical Society's Aerospace Journalist of the Year Awards (AJOYA), I’ve interviewed Nobel Prize winners and written about everything from potato blight to dark energy. Previously, I was a film and arts correspondent in New York and Europe, primarily for newspaper outlets like the International Herald Tribune, the Boston Globe and Canada's Globe & Mail. Recently, I've contributed to Scientific, Nature News, Physics World, and Yale Environment I'm a current contributor to Astronomy and Sky & Telescope and a correspondent for Renewable Energy World. Twitter @bdorminey