Team Searching For Meteorites In Alabama

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - A team is searching for meteorites in Alabama after a fireball streaks across the sky Monday evening.

The fireball streaked across the early evening sky in north and central Alabama.  A team from NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center is searching an area south of Huntsville and northwest of Cullman looking for meteorites. NASA has a specific area, but is not announcing it to the public at this time.

Sightings of the fireball, along with reports of a large boom occurred between 5:00 pm and 6:00 pm yesterday, roughly around 5:25 pm. For a fireball to create a sonic boom it has to be less than 30 miles above Earth’s surface, which means it penetrated Earth’s atmosphere at a low angle. The sonic boom produced shock waves that were actually registered on seismographs in Alabama. Amateur seismologist Steve Jones sent in this seismogram showing a spike just before 5:30 p.m.

This seismogram image shows a spike just before 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, October 30.

According to Dr. Bill Cooke of NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, since the meteor did not radiate from the constellation Taurus the bull, it was not from the Taurid Meteor shower (which is currently going on), but from a nearby asteriod belt. 

If scientists find meteorites in Alabama, which according to Dr. Cooke could be as big as pebbles or rocks, it will be the first time that meteorites have been found in Alabama since November 30th of 1954, when the first confirmed report of a meteor ever striking a person occurred in Sylacauga (Talladega County).