Another possible meteorite impact?

By Phil Plait | October 17, 2008 10:53 am

Update (Oct. 17): Eyewitness reports indicate a bright meteor was shortly before the explosion, so it looks like this may be the real thing. Most likely it blew up well above ground, but I’m hoping to hear more stories soon.

News from deep in the Australian outback is that residents of Alice Springs last night heard a boom and felt the ground shake. Aviation accidents have been ruled out, so who knows? That’s a pretty remote region for an accidental dummy weapon drop.

If I hear more, I’ll post.

And I swear, I’m not arranging this as a publicity stunt. But the book officially comes out Monday. :-)

Tip o’ the Whipple Shield to Thomas Siefert.

Comments (38)

  1. Mining Activity? Come on Dr. Plait, I’m sure you can come up with 100s of terrestrial reasons for a boom and ground shaking that has nothing to do with meteorites. ;) Although, I am starting to think maybe you arranged a lot of this to coincide with the counter over there on the right. ;)

  2. I thought of one or two things like that, but this is pretty remote, and if there were mining going on they’d be used to such things, and it wouldn’t be news. It could have been an earthquake, or a million other things (mostly unrelated to Priscilla, Queen of the Desert). I’ll see what news comes out. I’d rather not call TV stations in Oz at the moment. :)

  3. I got my copy from Amazon yesterday! :-)

  4. rob

    not a publicity stunt, eh? well how did those giant chunks of rock get into space and then just happen to strike earth when your book comes out?

    coincidence? hmm…you probably have a mass driver in your back yard that you built with the advance from the book. colorado has a lot of rocks just lying around…

  5. Dave

    @Jim Seymour
    > I got my copy from Amazon yesterday!

    Ditto! Three chapters down and loving it so far!

  6. I got my copy this morning! (Whoever delivered it didn’t even knock, just left it inside my screen door.) I can’t wait to start reading it this evening!

  7. DrFlimmer

    Coincidence or not – in some way there are more blogposts about metorites at the moment….. hm……maybe they are big and red and maybe they can wipe out life on earth ;)

  8. Jay Solis

    Already got my copy, thanks to Amazon, so I’m all set for this weekend!

  9. I bet he didn’t stage the 11 OCT APOD either. ;)

  10. Chip

    Here’s a photo but I’m a bit suspicious of its authenticity:
    http://blog.syracuse.com/strangecny/2007/10/large_UFO.bmp

    First of all, the folks near Alice Springs don’t go in for those thick Bermuda grass lawns. They surely prefer desert landscaping, maybe even pebble stone lawns. ;)

  11. Loud noise and rumbling ground? Sounds like the after effects of too much Fosters.

  12. Thomas Siefert

    Loud noise and rumbling ground? Sounds like the after effects of too much Fosters.

    People don’t drink Fosters down under, it’s for export and tourists.

  13. Obnoxious Bob

    Things that go bump in the night Down Under – maybe something like this? http://robotbreeder.com/Robotblogger/2006/10/outback-tesla-blast-japanese-cult.html

  14. People don’t drink Fosters down under, it’s for export and tourists.

    I know that.

    However, every person I’ve ever met who’s gone to Oz, has visited Alice Springs and they never learn about the Fosters thing until they get back :)

  15. Fosters is to Australian beer what Canadian Club is to Canadian whiskey.

  16. Jose

    People don’t drink Fosters down under, it’s for export and tourists.

    Next you’re going to tell me that they don’t stop to eat at Outback Steakhouse on the way back from the big crocodile wrastlin match.

  17. Jon D

    It was probably a synchronised drop bear training exercise.. or a really short kangaroo stampede or something!

    I got an email from Amazon saying they are trying to get me a copy. Ordered it about a month ago, was supposed to be dispatched today :(

  18. Nick

    Just found an event that actually got caught with a picture:

    http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap081011.html

    pretty spectacular to actually view!

  19. RL

    Phil Plait has a book coming out?

  20. Jon D

    “Phil Plait has a book coming out?”

    funny.. he never mentioned it! :)

  21. Kevin

    I got my book in the mail today!!!

    And also I saw it on the shelves at the local Barnes & Noble. I took some quick pics for you Phil.

  22. I got my book today too… Here’s DFtS in a bit of context:

    http://dcowan38.smugmug.com/photos/396170280_df9vt-XL.jpg

  23. The BA says: “That’s a pretty remote region for an accidental dummy weapon drop.”

    Seems to me that would be the perfect place. Would you prefer downtown Sydney?

    - Jack

  24. Naomi

    Nice place for it! No one cares if they flatten Alice Springs ;)

  25. Well Wycliffe Well, the UFO capitol of Australia, is only 500km away…

    http://www.wycliffe.com.au/ufo/index.htm

    …and Katherine, where the Air Force has a base, is only 1100km away

    …and the CIA has an Oz joint facility at Pine Gap not far from the Alice…

    http://www.fas.org/irp/facility/pine_gap.htm

    Not much mining in or around Alice Springs. Lots of yobbos that may have access to gelignite though.

  26. And that Japanese cult? Nothing as prosaic as a Tesla weapon. Good old fashioned nuke was the story of which there is “some” evidence.

  27. B52′s from Guam used to have practice bombing runs over the territory some years ago too. Not as far south as the Alice though I think.

  28. Nice pictures of the territory here…
    http://outback.nixons.net

    Yeah, I know, big noting myself again…
    :roll:

  29. Thomas Siefert

    It could all turn out to be Russell Coight making a documentary of how best to preserve an endangered species of lizards.

  30. Thomas, now that made me LOL. :D

  31. StevoR

    Dr Phil Plait noted :

    “I’d rather not call TV stations in Oz at the moment.”

    Hey why not? What’s wrong with us Aussies & esp. our TV stations?

    Our Dish (the Parkes Radio telescope) brought home your first TV pictures of your Moon-landings remember! ;-)

    Woomera has helped develop rocketry a bit too. ;-)

    As an Adelaide (due south of the Alice, pretty much, albiet hundreds of ks away) resident, I’m just hoping its not the first alien cylinder in some Wellesian* “War of the World’s” type invasion … ;-)

    Oh as for Aussie beer – try Coopers : Sparkling or Pale Ale or Stout the best beer of all I’d say. :-D
    ——

    * Wellesian referring to H.G. Wells, who wrote that first ever SF alien invasion book back in 1898. Wells predicted chemical WMDs (The Martian Black Smoke), life on other worlds & flying machines before the start of the last century. Thebooks datedsince but not toobadlyallconsidered and still a rivetting read. Recently watched the latest Tom Cruise remake on TV (not bad atmosphere wise altho’ plot was a bit flawed) which in turn inspired me to re-read the original novel so that’s on my mind a bit currently ..

  32. StevoR

    Oh & Wells also predicted Infra-Red lasers with the martians “heat ray”. Not bad for the Victorian era before we even had aircraft eh? ;-)

    Plus Well’s idea of the martian aliens were brilliant and impressively different too. Not in coming from Mars – atthetiem thatwasreasonable given the “knowledge”of tehperiod but rtaher in just how very * alien * they were : bear-sized brains with tentacles a bit like ‘Kodos’ & whatever the other one’s called in ‘The Simpsons’ .. only genuinely scary instead of funny.

    Yeah, the original books worth reading -as is a certain other text due out on bookshop shelves soon. ;-)

  33. StevoR-Correcting

    %$##@#!!@@! typos! That should read :
    —-

    Plus Well’s idea of the martian aliens were brilliant and impressively different too.

    Not in them coming from Mars – at the time (Lowell’s era befroe Pluto was known &when everyone thought Mars had real canals) that was reasonable given the “knowledge”of the period but rather in just how very * alien * Well’s Martians were :

    Bear-sized brains with tentacles a bit like ‘Kodos’ & whatever the other one’s called in ‘The Simpsons’ .. only genuinely scary instead of funny.

  34. KC

    I’m waiting for some idiot to connect this event to the Orionid Meteor Shower.

  35. Jose

    It totally had to be the Orionid Meteor Shower!

  36. Afro Spaulding

    @StevoR
    Sparkling is good but Vintage is better

  37. Sparkles

    My friend and I were walking this evening and saw a bright and long meteor around 9:45.

  38. Mom in the Adirondacks

    My children and I were just trying to figure out something we experienced on Friday October 31st. We were sitting together in the kitchen after lunch (EST) and we hear a LOUD boom what sounded like an explosion and our whole house shook! My toddler woke up from her nap saying that something scared her. We have no explanation except that a possible meteor! We are not being silly, but seriously considering this possiblity because we are just finishing the tail end of the Orionid Meteor shower (from Haley’s comet)as witnessed in the sky at night. We live in a rural area and we back up to the mountains. There are NO mines, etc. and there are only 2700 people that populate the whole village. We live outside the village. Anybody else with explanations?

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