Fireball mania started on Friday the 13th, around 10 p.m. EST, when people in central Kentucky heard loud booms, felt their houses shake, and saw a fireball streaking through the sky: reports. "The world appeared to explode--in green!" said one eyewitness. Once again, this appears to be a natural event caused by a meteoroid. Iridium 33 and Kosmos 2251 collided at a speed of about 10 km/s or 22,000 mph. None of the surviving fragments should have been big enough to shake houses in Kentucky. Furthermore, US Space Command, which monitors objects in Earth orbit, has not announced a reentry over Kentucky on Feb. 13th.
Just hours before the Kentucky event, around 20:03 UT on Feb. 13th, multiple cameras in Italy recorded a fireball some 10 times brighter than a full Moon
Ferruccio Zanotti of Ferrara, Italy, recorded that same fireball and two others. Italian scientists are plotting the trajectory of the brightest fireball to estimate where it might have hit the ground; a meteorite hunt will soon be underway.
Although it is tempting to attribute the Kentucky and Italian fireballs to debris from the Feb. 10th collision of the Iridium 33 and Kosmos 2251 satellites, they also seem to be meteoroids, not manmade objects.
Are we experiencing a "fireball shower?" Not necessarily. Meteoroids hit Earth every day. The daily fireballs they produce, however, are seldom reported: 70% streak over uninhabited ocean; half appear in glaring daylight; many are missed because people are asleep, at work, or not looking up. This current spate of fireballs could simply be a few ordinary, random meteoroids that have attracted extraordinary attention because of the recent satellite collision. The jury is still out.
Stay tuned for updates!
Great is the Name of the Lord