A report of a fireball or meteorite cascading across the eastern sky in the early morning hours of Wednesday, January 3rd caught the attention of at least one Nipawin area resident. Dennis Peters, caught sight of it at 2:37 am over the Tobin Lake region “heading eastbound , Just before it exploded and lit up the sky….”, Dennis described it as having no sound- just a bright ball with, what looked like a fire flame approx 2 mile long in the rear. “And then it exploded… also no sound. It was indeed pretty cool.. Maybe it exploded at Manitoba/Saskatchewan border.. kinda was in that trajectory”
According to the American Meteor Society, a fireball was observed the same morning at 2:38 am CST, further south in Virden, Manitoba.
“Almost looked like when a large firework goes off with little sparks flickering off as it proceeded.” reported Roji K of Virden, Manitoba, “I only saw it for 1-2 sec but it covered a largeish swath so had to be moving vary fast and vary cool on the color change from yellow to blueish then to red-orange.” According to Roji’s report, the fireball appears in the Northwest sky, travelling from North to northwest until it fragmented.
While not enough reports are available to pinpoint the trajectory of the Wednesday morning fireball, the implication of the Nipawin observation seeing it heading south east and the Virden report catching it in the northwest sky opens the conversation up to the question, could any fragments not burned have landed in the Northeast region of Saskatchewan?
The lightshow didn’t end there
Though that meteorite was not highly reported, another later on Wednesday evening, was seen by hundreds as it lit up the skies from Northern Saskatchewan and Manitoba all the way down to southern Minnesota and as far east as West Nipissing, Ontario. The AMS received 402 reports about a fireball seen over Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, South Dakota, North Dakota, and Nebraska on Wednesday January 3rd 2018 around 9:27 pm CST (03:25 UT).
One observer captured the fireball on a surveillance camera as seen in the video below. Based on trajectory data from the multitude of reports, the AMS concluded the meteorite either burned up on entry into the south eastern most portion of Manitoba, south east of Steinbach, and possibly west of Badger. Many reports likened the bright flash of light to a a lightning storm as it lights up the entire region. Reports closest to the final trajectory of the fireball, described a loud boom and, in some cases two booms.
“It looked like the sky lit up with lightning, like a lightning storm” reported Savannah M of Marchand, Manitoba, then referring to the final secs of the fireball, “It looked like a firework shooting down to the ground”
“I got a really good view of this meteor. I initially thought someone had shot a flare, or a firework over my vehicle. I then realized it was a meteor.” reported Colin N also of Marchand, MB, who described the colour as, “green flash, followed by green streak. At about 65-75% of its trajectory I saw a bright blue flash almost like a welding arc (I think a part might have broken off at that time) and then the green streak trailed off. ”
The fireballs coincide with the Quadrantids meteor shower activity which started on December 28, and will last until January 12, with a maximum predicted on January 3rd, which seems to held true this past week.
This video has been uploaded on the American Meteor Society Website. AMS Event: 43-2018, Report (43ms-2018) Credit:S. Kroeger