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A 'Boom' Is Heard From Canada to Virginia

Witnesses report seeing a fireball
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 2, 2020 5:13 PM CST

(Newser) – A noontime boom that was heard and felt from southern Ontario to Virginia was likely caused by a disintegrating meteor, according to an organization in western New York that keeps track of such phenomena, the AP reports. Witnesses across the area reported hearing the boom or seeing a fireball in the sky shortly after noon on Wednesday, said Robert Lunsford of the American Meteor Society in Geneseo. By 5pm, the organization had recorded 90 reports of the fireball seen in Maryland, Michigan, New York, Ontario, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. Police agencies and fire departments around central New York received 911 calls reporting a boom that shook windows, but clouds prevented sightings in much of the area.

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Since most reports of the boom were around Syracuse, that's likely where the meteor blew to bits, Lunsford said. On the society's website, an observer in western New York reported the fireball was bright white with shades of yellow. An observer in Hagerstown, Maryland, reported a fireball with red and orange sparks, smoke, and a persistent train. A report from Welland, Ontario, described a long, bright green train. "Sunny day so it looked like a gold metallic flash against the blue sky," said a report from Winchester, Virginia. All fireballs, which are bright meteors, produce sound waves, sometimes detectable only by sensitive microphones, said a meteor expert in London, Ontario. A large one may produce a thunderlike sonic boom with possible extra bangs from fragmentation, she said.

(Read more meteor stories.)

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