Northwest meteorite?

By Phil Plait | February 19, 2008 10:14 am

Any BABLoggees in the US northwest, near the southeast corner of Adams County? There are reports of a meteorite fall there this morning. If you saw anything, chime in!

Also, you can report it to the International Meteor Organization, which can aid in triangulating the fall and maybe finding the meteorite.

Tip o’ the Whipple shield to BABLoggee Measure for letting me know.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Astronomy, Science

Comments (37)

  1. See here – following “Next in thread” you see that no satellite reentry fits the observations.

  2. Long-time reader/first-time commenter:

    I think I saw it this morning, or rather, I saw the flash of blueish light that it created.

    I was carpooling north on I-5 between Seattle and Everett at about that time in the morning when the driver and I noticed a flash that illuminated most of the sky, akin to a lightning strike during a night time thunderstorm.

    It was odd enough to make us double check and ask each other if our eyes were playing tricks on us. A cloudless sky told us that it wasn’t lightning, and we were baffled about what else it could be.

    A meteor makes sense. How cool! Let’s find it and worship it!

  3. Gary Ansorge

    NAw! That was just my space craft landing,,,

    Crazy peebles, can’t even tell a meteor from a space craft. Good! My report will please the high command,,,

    Gary 7

  4. Christine Pulliam

    My office got a call from someone in the area. He confirmed the 5:45 time and described it as a series of purplish explosions. He also said it left a vapor trail that persisted for a couple of hours. It sounds like a very impressive sight!

  5. boxofbirds

    damn, I missed it! why can’t meteors wait to appear at a more convenient time for me???

  6. Trebuchet

    Gensior, Adams County is out in the Southeast corner of the state (Ritzville and Othello are in it) so it’s probably 150-200 miles from the Seattle-Everett area. Not saying you couldn’t have seen it, but it’s a long ways off. Probably depends on which way it was travelling.

    The BA didn’t actually say it was in the state of Washington, but there doesn’t seem to be an Adams County in Oregon.

  7. Mike

    I saw the flash, actually three flashes and a shower of sparks, but I missed the actual meteor.
    This was in Boise, ID, facing west, the flashes lit the entire sky. I thought I was merely losing my mind until I got to work, and other folks had seen the flashes as well. No one saw the actual meteor here though.

  8. Trebuchet, meteors are usually high enough, and travel far enough, to be visible over a large area before they (occasionally) make landfall. It looks like this one’s no exception.

    There are also reports of sightings from as far south as Portland, as far north as Vancouver, and as far east as Montana.

  9. Brett

    I saw it driving to work around 5:35 here in Northern Nevada. It was a bright green streak to my north that appeared to drop straight down. I thought it was much closer but apparently not. It disappeared behind a low hill obstructing my view. The sky then lit up with two flashes. Very cool.

  10. Brian

    We got flooded with calls in the KXLY 4 Newsroom (Spokane) this morning of people describing the meteor, which everyone agreed was a pretty incredible sight. A local business captured footage of it on surveillance, which you can watch here:§ion_id=559&story_id=14586

  11. Kearby

    Too bad I was still asleep at that time. I’m in Whitman County, right adjacent to Adams. I was driving right through there last night though, if only it could have been 9 hours earlier…

  12. tina

    my husband seen a bright flash about 5:30 am south east of us and we are located in umatilla oregon

  13. Misha

    I saw it at 5:29 AM from Roslyn, WA. I saw what I thought was a shooting star in the clear, dark, SE sky. All of the sudden there was like an explosion with intense, brilliant colors of pink, orange, bright blue and green, then a bare space on it’s trajectory and then a HUGE explosion of color! Bright, brilliant, colorful, amazing. It was brighter than the full moon which I could see in my mirror behind the car. What a way to start the day!

  14. Laura G

    Northwest Cable News had a bit on it this morning. They claimed it was near Bainbridge Island, between Bainbridge and Darrington. They said they’d been getting calls from folks who reported it looked like a firework, only heading downward instead of up. That’s all second/third-hand reports, though.

    They did say they’d gotten enough calls that they intended to follow the story. and

  15. This is obviously fallout from TU24!

  16. Heather

    Family report sightings in Thompson Falls, MT.

  17. Ray M

    Brett says: I saw it driving to work around 5:35

    So it has a driver’s licence? Coolest meteor ever!!!

  18. Several video clips are linked from this German blog – interest in the fireball is worldwide …

  19. Astronowanabe

    Although I can’t stay up as late as 5:30am anymore
    I heard local reports of people seeing it in Eugene, OR.
    a hundred miles south of Portland.
    They thought it was hitting maybe 35 miles north east of here not 250 miles

  20. Mr. Mojo

    Appeared NW from Boise, ID. I can see how people would perceive an impact, as there were several bright flashes as it dropped below my horizon. It was moving fast, and down, relative to the horizon. Pretty neat start to the day.

  21. Yewlbert

    I saw it at 5:31 (by my car’s clock). It was an electric-blue flash that lit up the sky. Two of them in quick succession. Ridgefield, WA. SE sky. I thought it was lightning at first, but there were no clouds. Then I thought “METEOR!” That’s the only thing it could be.

  22. Lars Bruchmann

    Our local NBC affiate (channel 8-Portland) mentioned it in the 11pm broadcasts which i tivo. They said it was visible here as well as Washington, and as i recall they mentioned adams county. they said that 911 and police lines were called about it from many people. i was at home sleeping, unfortunately!

  23. Lars Bruchmann

    channel 8 is now reporting that it likely came down on adams county, near kennewick, WA. they showed parking lot camera footage of it, and played some 911 calls. a professor from the university is interviewing witnesses to ascertain where it may have landed. sonic booms were reported, so it made it into thicker atmosphere! the time on the parking lot footage was 05.28.

  24. Christopher Blair

    CNN has clips from various Portland-area security cameras that happened to catch it.


  25. Allaraine

    I govenment said they are going to blow a Spy satillite out of the air tonight. Could it possibly be that they have already done so and are just not telling us? And could it possibly be a part of that? Just speculating.

  26. Jack W

    I viewed it from a stretch of highway somewhere around 7 or 8 miles north of Spokane, WA that crosses a prairie and I was heading due south (I even checked the maps to see which direction I was facing at that point). I had to lean down and look west to see it clearly through an older SUV with a nearly vertical windshield. It was for the most part to the west of me. It was slightly to the south from west. The local TV station, KREM reported that Eastern Washington University determined that it was 25 miles north of La Grande, OR. I say no way, because that would have been slightly west of due south. The reports of Adams Co., WA would be right in line with my sighting. It was definitely green in color from my view. It was the shade of green that I would expect from a fire with copper in it. The sky was so lit up, that I could see the smoke trail above it. I don’t think it ever hit the ground. I could still see clear sky behind it when the flame burnt out. It appeared at the time to only be a couple hundred yards away from me, but that seems to typical of all the sightings. Due to the fact that it was almost a vertical approach to the ground, the direction that it appeared to each person will be key to determining where it was heading when it entered the atmosphere. I have the same question as Allaraine, especially since it looked like the material being burned would seem to contain copper.

  27. Rich

    When are you going to wake up people??? That was a spy satellite being shot down. Read the news and quit being so darn naive. Can’t you tell when you’re being lied to be those you put in authority over youselves?

  28. Rich

    When are you going to wake up people??? That was a spy satellite being shot down. Read the news and quit being so darn naive. Can’t you tell when you’re being lied to by those you put in authority over youselves?

  29. Rich

    When are you going to wake up people??? That was a spy satellite being shot down. Read the news and quit being so darn naive. Can’t you tell when you’re being lied to by those you put in authority over yourselves?

  30. Jack W

    Rich, I believe that you are more likely to be correct than not. If you read my and Allaraine’s posts right before yours, you will see that people are aware of this possibility. I think the reported success rate for a first shot destroy from the government was 80%. They may have struck early and “winged” it. That would explain the sighting, but is not really a big surprise since they said they were going to do it.

  31. joe ga

    i saw a bright flash of light appear to go straight down into the ground on the same day as people said they saw the meteorite, but i’m here in georgia and what i saw happened at 1:45 am, soooo….was that the same thing because unless time zones have changed i’m three hours behind the meteorite falling

  32. Mike

    This meteor was seen by hundreds of fortunate individuals like me.
    I live in Ontario, Oregon. I was on the way to work on 19 Feb 2008 at about 6:32. I was driving west 45 mph and looking at the full moon ahead and to my left when the sky and the valley I was facing suddenly lit up very bright. It was like someone had turned on a switch to the sun. In fact, it startled me it was so bright and my immediate thought was, “Is that a Nuke?” And then I thought, “A nuke out here? (I’m in the high desert)Maybe a Meteor?” I could see the light was brightest to the North and so I leaned forward (I couldn’t see it through the windshield window it was still that high) and then I saw the Meteor coming in at a steep angle, (it looked from the North). It glowed yellow/white then exploded into several pieces at maybe 5000-10,000ft, (it looked to be at about a 30 degree angle from me in altitude). It looked close like it was only maybe 3-4 miles NNW of my location. It seemed right on top of me it was so big and bright. I know for a fact that it did explode. Also it was high up when it did. So it did not come down and impact intact. I didn’t hear a sonic boom, however my radio was on so that might have covered the sound. When I got to work, many of my co workers also saw it, (both from Day-shift and Graveyard). Some were walking in the parking lot and others were coming in like me. The people that saw this meteor that lived 50 miles away say they saw a flash. Not me, the whole valley lit up and was easy to see for miles, (2450 feet elevation-no trees). I’ve been hearing that it was 300 miles away. No way. Too big and bright and I saw the fragments come down on fire as it blew up (I don’t think I could have seen those fragments if so far out, even the glitter). I’m telling you, it lit up the whole area like someone was beaming down a huge spot light. Just amazing. The best one I’ve seen in my 40 years.

  33. Steve

    The Tri-City Herald has two – count ‘em, TWO – videos of the meteor.

    They appear to have been recorded by security cameras but they are VERY cool.

    They also say that experts at the University of Washington feel it did not reach the ground. Of there are dissenters.

    The article and video can be seen at:

  34. Carolyn

    There were even reportings of sightings of the meteor in British Columbia as far north as Kamloops!


  35. I have what appears to be an 8lb Copper Meteor that was found in a crater in Montana.

    We are trying to verify its authenticity so we can sell it and find out what its worth.

    Can anyone suggest where in Montana we can get this assayed ?


  36. B

    Why is everyone so sure it was meteor and not something else? It seems more than a little likely that these multiple sightings were of more than one event. Perhaps several of these “meteors” entered the atmosphere, and yet no one has entertained that possibility.

  37. Well I went to the U of M in Missoula to find a Geologist (as suggested) and I have never seen such a confused bunch of people in my life. No one knew anything about he rest of the Campus and couldnt even read their own Map.

    After zig zagging across the campus for several hours, I finally ran into one of the “esteemed” Geology professors, and ‘this person’ highly doubted and scrutinized any hope of any such chance of their being a Copper Meteorite.

    This person was not from Montana, and doesnt know anything about Eastern Montana especially…..

    but what I did find was….

    In Greenland Robert Edwin Peary [b. Cresson, Pennsylvania, May 6, 1856, d. Washington, DC, February 20, 1920] notes that natives make tools from copper broken from a large meteorite. The remaining 37-ton copper meteorite is now in the American Museum of Natural History in New York.

    An authority on this would sure be great to find. No one answers Email at the University and I am suprized the people can get dressed and find their way there every day…..


Discover's Newsletter

Sign up to get the latest science news delivered weekly right to your inbox!


See More

Collapse bottom bar