|Occurred : 11/16/1999 19:05 (Entered as : 11/16/99 19:05)
Reported: 11/26/1999 23:03
Location: Fort Wayne, IN
|Bright green fireball, long green tail with bright points of light in it, moving w to e from almost horizon to horizon in about 1 minute.
On 11/16/99, my 4-year-old son and I were driving north on US 27 from Decatur, IN to Fort Wayne for an amateur radio club meeting. It was about 19:05, and we had crossed over the Adams-Allen county line about 4 miles ago. I had heard about the meteor shower expected to start that night, so I'm trying to look at the sky frequently. About that time, I noticed a bright green light about 10-15 degrees above the horizon, at about my 10 o'clock position. From the angle that US 27 runs, this would have been about due west of me. I thought it was too low to be a meteor, but kept glancing at it, thinking it was probably an airplane. After a few seconds, I could start to see a short, green tail below and to the left. This got my interest, so I kept watching it. It appeared to be moving in our general direction, because it was getting higher in the sky and I could see more of the tail. Thinking this was going to be one spectacular meteor, I slowed down and pulled the car over. By this time, we had been watching the fireball for about 30 seconds, and it was now so high in the sky that I had to lean forward against the steering wheel and look almost straight up to see it. The tail was bright green, and took up a good 30 degrees of arc. It wasn't nearly as bright as the fireball, which was an intense white-green light, but it was bright enough to be easily seen. The tail was also as wide as the fireball, and had a cluster of about 5 bright greenish-white points of light in it, immediately behind the fireball. Trailing farther back in the tail were about 3 more lights, not grouped together. All of these were about the same color, and were bright enough to be easily seen in the tail, but the fireball was by far the brightest. I was stunned enough by what I was seeing that I didn't pay as much attention to some of the details as I should have. For example, the exact number lights in the tail, their motion relative to the fireball and each other, the exact time or duration, or the exact spot I pulled over at. I had n! ever see n anything like this, and kept thinking that it was moving awfully slow for a meteor. We sat and watched, discussing what we were seeing, while it moved farther down the sky toward my 4 o'clock position, or about due east of me. As it got closer to the horizon, I noticed a gradual color change from the intense green-white to an orange color. Also, the fireball and tail were much dimmer and hard to see now. The trailing lights were all we could see as they became dimmer and darker orange, until I lost sight of them about 10-15 degrees above the horizon. I wasn't sure if the change in color and intensity were due to the meteor burning out, or if I was simply looking through too much atmosphere to see it well. From start to finish, I estimate the whole event took around a minute, maybe a minute and 15 seconds. My son saw most of this also, and was able to describe it in good detail to my wife later that night. Some background on myself: I'm 35, a metrology technician for a major telecommunications company, and a ham radio operator.