Skip to comments.Police On Meteor Alert After Huge Balls Of Fire Light Up Spanish Sky
Posted on 01/05/2004 6:45:55 PM PST by blam
Police on meteor alert after huge balls of fire light up Spanish sky
Giles Tremlett in Madrid
Tuesday January 6, 2004
The Guardian (UK)
Was it a brightly shining star leading the present-laden three kings to the homes of millions of children at today's Epiphany, Spain's biggest gift-giving day of Christmas? As police scoured a remote mountainous district of the northern León province yesterday for remnants of a large, brilliant, burning object that fell to earth on Sunday, the most likely explanation was that it was part of a meteor.
The search concentrated near Renedo de Valderaduey after neighbours saw a huge ball of white fire passing close overhead before crashing into nearby mountains.
Some reported up to five explosions. "The ground shook, everything shook," said one.
Police expected to find a crater caused by a meteor of up to 100 tonnes that may have broken up as it shot across the skies. Experts said it might have been the size of a small house.
Emergency services were alerted by people who reported balls of fire leaving smoke trails across the sky. Some blamed small country fires in Lugo, in the north-west, and Castellón on smaller fireballs.
Football fans in Santiago de Compostela, north-west Spain, including José Angel Docobo, a university astronomer, also saw a big fireball. He said: "It must have been pretty big if we were able to see it by daylight."
Scientists said it had been travelling between 12 and 30 miles a second.
Epiphany, the 12th day after Christmas, is a public holiday in Spain and marks the day a star is supposed to have led the three wise men to Bethlehem.
Great Balls Of Fire
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A painting of the Tunguska event a few minutes after it exploded...from eyewitness accounts TUNGUSKA
A couple of years ago, I was backpacking in southern New Mexico
It was dark and I was sitting in front of my tent when I saw a large flaming object come overhead at a speed that appeared to be comparable to that of an aircraft at a few thousand feet.
Very large multi-colored flames were tailing behind it; I immediately thought it was an airliner on fire and about to go down
Only after it disappeared over the horizon did I realize that is was a meteor.
On another occasion, I was lying in a field in Germany during the Perseid shower and saw a meteor appear to come directly at me, get very bright, and explode with a very loud report.
You may be correct that bolides are cool when they hit the ground, but they certainly are not in the air
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