A giant meteor with a flaming tail cast an eerie glow in the sky over British
Columbia, Alberta, Washington State and Idaho Monday Night.
The spectacle caused momentary panic
among fans at a baseball game in Vancouver. Sightings were also reported at
Victoria, Calgary, Fort Assiniboine, Alta., Spokane, Wash., and Lewiston,
There were as many descriptions as
there were people who watched the huge fireball streak across the sky in a
Hundreds of Vancouver residents
jammed switchboards at the airport, weather office and RCAF headquarters with
reports of a flaming airliner, an off-course rocket or a comet.
But authoritative observers said it
was a meteor.
Research scientist Frank Hughes of
nearby North Surrey, said he has observed about 200 meteors and "this one was
the largest I have seen."
GLOWS LIKE FLARE
It was on a 20-degree angle from the
earth, about 10 degrees in width and traversed about 30 degrees in five
seconds," said Mr. Hughes who did meteor observation work for the British
"It was glowing with a white
brightness like a magnesium flare," he said. "The different portions of it
glowed with varying intensity."
Other descriptions were less
scientific but more spectacular.
"It was as big as an aircraft
hangar," said a control tower employee at Vancouver International Airport. "It
was the most amazing sight I've ever seen."
He said the meteor was visible for 12
seconds and passed over at 10:43 p.m. PDT.
It seemed to burn itself out "but we
might have lost it because of a cloud formation. It all happened so quickly
nobody thought to grab the binoculars."
Dr. R. M. Petrie, head of the
Dominion Astrophysical Observatory at Victoria, said the descriptions applied
to meteors but that it must have been a big one.
MUST BE HUGE
"This one would have to be huge to
have been visible for so long or it would have burned itself out more
Dr. Petrie said it was unlikely that
any fragments of the meteor reached the ground.
Fans in the third baseline bleachers
at Vancouver's Capilano Stadium were the first to spot the multi-colored
meteor when it appeared during the 12th inning.
They cried out in panic and Vancouver
and Portland pacific Coast League players looked up from the diamond, then ran
for the dugout along with the umpires.
Bluish White trail Seen Over Calgary
A bluish-green fire-ball seen by
Calgary residents Monday night is believed to have been a meteorite streaking
over British Columbia.
Alan McQuarrie, head of the weather
bureau at McCall Field, said the meteorite may have landed somewhere in
southern B.C. or the northern United States.
It was sighted in Calgary about 10:40
p.m. The weather technician on duty said he saw a round "greenish-blue" object
travelling rapidly from north to south about 25 degrees above the horizon. It
was leaving a "bit of a whitish trail."
Other Calgarians described the
meteorite as a white or bluish-white object with a flaming tail. They said it
was visible for three to five seconds.
In northern Alberta residents
described the object as "a ball of blue fire with a long tail."