|Occurred : 8/17/2001 22:45 (Entered as : 8/17/2001 2245+-5)
Reported: 8/18/2001 16:23
Location: Golden, CO
|Low flaming meteor with possible ground impact.
At about 10:45 PM driving west on I-70 near the intersection of I-70 & C-470, (Golden, Colorado) I saw what was most likely a large meteor or Space Junk. It first appeared to me just below the top of my windshield at about a 30 degree angle above the horizon, appearing to flare up at that point to a bright yellow-white color with a long tail and sparks and small chunks breaking off. It was about half to 2/3rds the size of a pencil eraser at arms length. It dropped almost vertically to a point just above the ridgeline of the foothills, and appeared to dim out just before disappearing. While very hard to estimate distance, if I had to venture a guess I would say 5 to 20 miles, though it could have been much further. It looked to me that it very likely hit the ground relatively near Denver. (A call to the USGS for seismic cooberation was quite unsatisfying) I had my hand held GPS operating, and checked the current heading at that time as 201 degrees. I am trying to confirm if that is magnetic or true heading, but the GPS manual does not specify. It appears to be magnetic heading based on my aeronautical chart and the road in that area. The object was just slightly left of straight ahead, so most likely about a 195-200 degree magnetic heading from that intersection. Plotting this on my Denver Area Chart (aeronautical chart), the line runs nearly through Marshdale, Silver Springs, and Bailey Colorado. (If my GPS course turns out to be True Course, shift the line 10 ½ degrees to the left, but magnetic course looks right on the map). This was one of the most spectacular, low and close objects of this type I have seen, and if my small plane were not in the shop I would go out looking for evidence. It may be possible if able to triangulate or get a seismic location to find a relatively pristine meteor or space debris. I don't know who to contact about meteor impacts, so perhaps you can tell me or pass this on. Perhaps NORAD/Space Command has some info on this object if they will share it with us.
((NUFORC Note: Map sent by witness. Curiously, no other reports from this part of Colorado for this date. However, we presume that this is a high-quality report. PD))