|Occurred : 9/20/2005 19:30 (Entered as : 09/20/2005 19:30)
Reported: 9/22/2005 4:08:09 AM 04:08
Location: Jacksonville to Ft. Pierce, IL
|glowing fireball .... no gov't. agency "saw it".
September 21, 2005
'Fireball' lights up night sky: Callers alert Coast Guard
BY JUAN ORTEGA FLORIDA TODAY
If you were in the right place at the right time along the Space Coast on Tuesday night, you would have seen a light show -- possibly a meteor or space junk.
From Fort Pierce to about five miles south of Jacksonville, reports came in to Coast Guard offices starting about 7:30 p.m., said Dan Yates, a Coast Guard petty officer in Port Canaveral.
Yates said one caller who was walking his dog near the Sebastian Inlet described the object as "huge, like a giant fireball." The caller said he looked toward the Atlantic Ocean and saw the object disappear into the sea.
Bart Lipofsky, a professor of physics and astronomy at Brevard Community College, said it more than likely sailed over the horizon instead of splashing down. He added many witnesses often make the same visual mistake.
Yates said callers to the Coast Guard station thought a boater might have been in trouble. "A lot of people thought it might have been a flare that might have gone up," Yates said of other callers.
Babs Angel, a public affairs spokeswoman for Patrick Air Force Base, said no local military activity was taking place Tuesday night.
The Coast Guard in Brevard received more than 17 calls throughout the evening from residents and two police agencies, Yates said.
The Coast Guard base near Jacksonville also received calls.
"It's kind of new to all of us. We're not used to meteors coming down at the beach," Yates said of that possibility.
Lipofsky was teaching a class Tuesday night and missed out on the show. When told of the range at which the object was seen, he said: "Well, if it's a meteor, that's quite a fireball.
"Another possibility is it could've been space junk coming out of orbit."
Contact Ortega at 242-3632 or firstname.lastname@example.org
((NUFORC Note: Source elects to remain totally anonymous; provides no contact information. We express our gratitude to "FLORIDA TODAY" for the article. We do not know what the object was. PD))