|Occurred : 6/30/2001 21:33 (Entered as : 06/30/01 21:33)
Reported: 7/4/2001 12:57
Location: Lone Butte (Gila River Indian Community), AZ
Duration:5 to 7 Seconds
|We viewed a bright orange tailed fireball, moving south to northwest 20 degrees above the horizion.
Wife and I were returning from a cinema in Tempe. We live near Mobile and drive this route to and from the valley daily. We were westbound, approaching the Queen Creek Road overpass at I-10E at approximately 1/4 mile. At that point, the road curves to the southwest as it crosses the interstate. As we were comming out of the curve, and at the same moment, we both saw a bright orange fireball traversing the sky originating from the south and moving in a direction toward the northwest. This object was situated approximately 20 degrees off of the horizion and moving apparently parallel with the horizion. It did have a long tail, approximately 10 times its diameter which was also bright orange. We live 20 miles southwest of the valley (by way of the crow flys) separated from the valley by South Mountain and the Sierra Estrella range. Thus,we experience very little reflective light from the metro, so viewing the night sky is a nightly occurrance. We routinely observe shooting stars, civilian and military aircraft and even military arial flares lighting the Barry Goldwater Bombing Range 20 miles to the southwest of our home. This object was in the wrong part of the sky, and not moving like an arial flair. For the past 10 days or so, Mars has been very bright in the southern sky. By comparison, this orange fireball was at least 12 times the diameter of our view of Mars. I phoned Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, AZ within moments of the sighting from my celphone and later in the week. They have no record of such a sighting. If it was a meteor, it was a large one. I thought it might have been a satelite comming out of orbit, but then again, it was so large. Has the military reported anything missing that night?