Fireball over Colorado

Contributed by
Jan 4, 2007

You may have read about a spectacular fireball that burned up over Colorado today. The event has been linked to a Russian booster re-entering after a week in space. It broke up into many pieces as it fell through the atmosphere, leaving an incredible shower of meteor-like debris trailing across the sky. You can see video of it here and here.

USA Today reports that a piece of debris may have been found from the booster, but I got an email from James Oberg who is doubtful. He thinks the debris that was found is too far north; the object didn't break up until it was over Ft. Collins Colorado, but the debris was found in Wyoming (it was traveling to the south).

I have no opinion as yet, since I don't have enough details. If you find more on the web, post it in the comments!

Years ago, when I was starting up my Masters degree research at the University of Virginia, I was at the observatory in rural Nelson County with a friend and the observatory director. We were looking at a bright comet that was gracing our skies when suddenly the entire sky lit up. A fantastic fireball sailed across our view, bright enough to leave an afterimage on our eyes. It was trailing flame, and moved west to east in a graceful arc. We found out the next day it was -- you guessed it -- a Russian booster that had re-entered. Ours didn't break up like this one over Colorado, but it was still breathtaking and frakkin' amazing. I'd love to see another one like that!

Make Your Inbox Important

Get our newsletter and you’ll be delivered the most interesting stories, videos and interviews weekly.

Sign-up breaker