Was GOES-11 able to detect a meteor signature?

April 15th, 2010 |
Animation of rooftop camera images from the University of Wisconsin - Madison / AOS / SSEC building (looking west)

Animation of rooftop camera images from the University of Wisconsin - Madison / AOS / SSEC building (looking west)

The break-up of a meteor entering the Earth’s atmosphere caused a large “fireball” of light that was seen  across parts of the Upper Midwest region around 10:00 pm local time on 14 April 2010 (or 03:00 UTC on 15 April 2010). The images above — also available as a QuickTime animation — were taken at 10 second intervals from a rooftop camera (facing to the west) on the Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences (AOS) / Space Science and Engineering Center (SSEC) building — a very bright flash is briefly seen (which also happens to illuminate 2 aircraft contrails aloft).

It’s admittedly very subtle, but a comparison of a highly-enhanced nighttime visible image from the GOES-11 (GOES-West) satellite and a radar reflectivity image from the Davenport, Iowa WSR-88D (below) seems to corroborate the reports from the public of the meteor flash appearing to move “from west to east” (or in this case, from northwest to southeast). The exact time that GOES-11 was scanning the area of the slightly brighter streak was 03:03 UTC (10:03 pm local time), and our best guess of the exact time of the enhanced reflectivity feature on the WSR-88D radar image is 03:04 UTC (10:04 pm local time). GOES-11 and radar images courtesy of Mat Gunshor, CIMSS.

GOES-11 enhanced visible image + Davenport IA WSR-88D radar reflectivty

GOES-11 enhanced nighttime visible image + Davenport IA WSR-88D radar reflectivty

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