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July 6, 2009

A Mason-Dixon meteor?


We have been receiving reports today of a likely meteor over north-central Maryland and southern Pennsylvania early Monday morning. (Not the one in the image above.) 

Below are the first reports we have received. If you heard or saw something similar, around the same time, please leave a comment. Include the time, your location, which direction you saw the object or flash, a description of what you saw, and note any boom or other sound you heard, as well as the time lapse between flash and boom.

The York Dispatch:  In York County, Pa., police officers from Penn Township, Southwestern Regional and Newberry Township reported seeing a flash and hearing a boom around 1:15 a.m. Monday, July 6, according to local 911 centers. Officials in Harford County, Md. also reported seeing a flash and hearing a boom near the Mason-Dixon Line. 

Capital Gazette: An Annapolis city police officer reported that she and her partner both saw what she described as a "bright blue light in the sky" just after midnight. It was followed by "a light with a tail, falling from the sky," according to our informant. Annapolis police reported hearing a similar report on Baltimore County police radio.

Gary Moon, reporting to The Sun's News Tips: "I heard and felt a deep earth blast similar to an earthquake, which shook my home in Glen Rock, Pa., early Monday morning. I thought I would hear MUCH more about this one ... nothing."

Deborah Markow, Havre de Grace: "Last night, couldn't sleep, went out on back deck, laid on lounge, eyes closed and then it was like someone pointed a flash light in my eyes it was so bright. I saw another one streak through the sky ... It was one of the most thrilling sights to behold a ball of fire flying through the sky."

I have not yet seen any meteor reports of this event on the American Meteor Society's Fireball Sightings Log, but it's early yet, and this fireball, coming in the wee hours after a long holiday, probably did not catch many people out and about.

Which makes reports like these, and yours, all the more important. If you saw this object, be sure to leave a report with the AMS, too.

But judging from the descriptions, it almost certainly was a fireball, which is simply an especially bright meteor, vaporizing with an impressive flash.

Here's a pretty good example on video.

They are sometimes followed by a sonic boom, which would explain the booming noises in the reports. Some fireball observers - though none yet for this event - also report a crackling or hissing sound that is concurrent with the meteor's flash and which has never been fully explained scientifically.

Although meteor rates begin to pick up in July, this is not the peak time for any particular meteor shower. It seems likely this was a "sporadic," or isolated meteor that just happened to be especially big and bright. Big ones like this are always unexpected, always startling to witness, and always a thrill.

Posted by Frank Roylance at 11:43 AM | | Comments (111)
Categories: Phenomena


Last night, my girlfriend and I were doing a good deed by picking up an intoxicated friend and driving her to her house. This was probably a little after 1am, when I looked to my right (being my north) and saw what I thought was a firework, only way brighter shooting downward instead of up. However, I heard no sound and felt no shake.

Was upstairs working around 1:06 am (by computer clock) when I heard a loud, singular boom; the sound quite alarming even coming through south-facing windows, and of an intensity that shook the house throughout. Having lived near quarries, I would equate it with rock blasting operations, or perhaps a sonic boom, but this was distinctly more violent. I half expected to hear the distant wail of sirens in response to a nearby gas station explosion or something.

Just south of Bel Air, we were up late watching the end of a movie and heard the concussive blast. Too loud and “heavy” for a firecracker, we originally thought it was an early morning thunderstorm but were surprised to find a crystal–clear sky outside.

Last night, at around 1:10 / 15, I was laying in bed, looking out the window, and I saw the entire sky flicker a light blue, and then I saw the orange and red flash, it was moving north
I'm in West Chester PA, about fifteen minutes from delaware.

At around 1:10 a.m. I felt the house/ground rumble & heard what sounded like a low thunder sound which also woke my wife. Very similar (although less intense) to the earthquake tremors in December. We live in Northern Harford County

I was on the porch after a late night with fireworks here in Lancaster PA, and was facing the front door when everything behind me lit up, I heard a boom, and I thought it must be fireworks. Then it occurred to me to turn around and walk a few feet to go look, when I realized that must be some firework! The moon was bright, my watch showed exactly 1:05 a.m., and I quickly scanned the sky and directly overhead saw some lit up fragments indicating the meteorite or whatever it was was moving roughly from south to north, but was much higher than any fireworks. Astronomy is a hobby so I am always looking at meteorites, and the height looked consistent with something like that.

I live in Jarrettsville. I was inside around 1am. I heard a definite "Baroooooom" with a slight shimmy after it. My first thought was it was an earthquake like the one felt up here a few months ago. But it didnt go as long. This sound was only two or three seconds. I did not go outside look for anything though.

From what I have gathered the one that flew over us in Ellicott City, Md landed in Harford County and the one reported in PA was near Philadelphia..There are alot of reports on Twitter..We heard a Boom but that was a few minutes later..

FR: These events are very high in the atmosphere. It's likely everyone saw the same object. And they very rarely reach the surface, vaporizing high above the Earth.

I was up last night doing some work from my computer when I heard a loud 'boom' outside which shook the house for a second or two. Similar to what we feel sometimes from Aberdeen Proving Ground, I looked at my clock to see it was a little after 1am and thought to myself, "they're really testing ordinance out there pretty late at night".

I'm in Bel Air, near BAHS.

Sitting outside on the back deck of my neighbors at around 1:00-1:15 am and caught a glimpse of a light blue ball of fire with a stream following it. It made no noise that I could here. Me and my friend thought it was a firework or a falling star.

I'm so glad to know what this was!
In Shiremanstown, PA, my husband was in the kitchen getting a glass of water and I was in our bedroom, so we both had windows facing roughly South or Southeast. The timing definitely matches - just after 1:00 AM.

I saw this bright light on the wall like car headlights, but couldn't have been because it came from the direction of the back yard, and immediately looked out the window and saw a very brief glimpse of what looked like the end of a firework - a light that disappeared right away as it fell. We didn't hear anything (were we too far away?), and I thought it was too bright for a firework, plus it gave me a funny feeling in the pit of my stomach like it was something else. But it seemed like it must have been a firework because it was 4th of July weekend, and I thought a meteor seemed too improbable, so that was that.

I'm very excited to hear that it might have been a meteor! I'd love to know more about it, such as the location where it hit the ground if it did. More info, please!

~ Mer

I was driving east on I-70 last night, and it streaked across the sky in front of me as I was nearing Hagerstown. I looked up after I heard a sound that I had assumed was thunder, and saw it moving in a northerly direction before it disappeared behind some trees off to my left. It was white and green, with an orange tail. It seemed to be falling slowly until it neared the ground.

I was outside of my Aunt's house with my friend smoking a cigarette at about 1:00am in the Towson area near Providence road, and we saw a bright streak of light and then 5 minutes later heard a very loud boom.

I was awoken from the sonic boom, immediately followed by what could best be described as a tremor. The whole house shook. This was most likely from the boom. Forest Hill, MD.

My son woke me up around 1:00 indicating that he heard a loud noise and the house shook. He thought we might have had an earthquake. We live in Jarrettsville.

My husband, my daughter and my visiting nephew all said they heard this extremely loud boom last evening/early this morning (around 1:00-1:15) and felt the house shake. As much as I wake up during the night, I can't believe I did not hear this or feel it as they did! I feel better at least knowing what it was now.

Two friends and myself were down at the river for the weekend in Delta, Pa. We were sitting by the camp fire on the river talking when the ENTIRE sky lit up for 3-5 seconds. It was as if it were daylight outside. Of course we were only about 2 miles from the Peach bottom power plant, so at first it made me very nervous. Approximately 60-90 seconds after the sky had lit up we heard a thunderous series of sonic boom sounds accompanied by tremors

Last night, same time frame, wife was awakened by lights coming in the southern facing bedroom windows. Must have been bright as we also had a bright moon coming thru the windows. She went to the window to see who was shining a light into the window (improbable as we're in a rural area of northwest Harford County. As she neared the window the boom occured, which woke me up and scared her to speechless. Also scared the vocal animals usually asleep and quieted the normal critters, frogs and crickets.

My daughter is camping in Street, Maryland and texted me last night at 2:00 am. Her description of what she saw: "It was a flash, a big ball of firey light with a greenish tail, and then a huge boom. The buildings shook....It was scarey as s--t."

I was outside my Port Deposit home on the back deck around 1:05 am. The whole yard lit up. I looked up to the sky to see a HUGE fireball with a long trail.It made no noise until about 30 seconds later, at that point there was a loud boom followed by the whole house shaking...I will never forget this AMAZING and alittle scary sighting

This was most definitely a failed terrorist attack

At around 1:00 AM my husband and I ran outside to see if something had hit our home. There was a loud boom and our house shook. We live in Bel Air.

Just before 1:00 am I was getting into bed when the sky lit up like it was day. The boom I heard was mere seconds after I witnessed the flash.

1:10 am awakened by loud explosion(boom). air pressure inside home increased and all exhaust fan vent doors flung open and close.House felt as though it was lifted up and dropped. Felt similar to an earthquake without the boom.On farm in Freeland Md at the PA line near I-83.

We SEEN it! We're in Whiteford MD. It was about quarter after one. We saw it shoot over our heads in a northwest direction. It lit up everything very brightly in a light blue color. About 2 minutes later we heard a terrible rumbling like thunder, but we felt no shaking and could not see a flash.

i live in harford county and i did not see it but at around one am. i heard a rumbling noice and everything in my office was shaking, i thought it was an earthquake at the time.

There was a loud boom that woke both my wife and me around 1:08 AM. I sleep through everything, so waking me was impressive. The house shook as it would from a violent clap of thunder or a close quarry blast. We are just to the northeast of Bel Air.

HUGE Boom, bright light came through my window while I was watching TV. Right around 1am,,,i feel a the earth shake a bit as i heard the rumble. My bros girlfriend said the entire sky lit up like it was day time.
Baldwin, MD

Inside my garage with the doors up, at about 1:06 am, my friend and I were talking. Suddenly it seemed as thought the sun were coming up! The three homes directly across from us that were hard to see (due to no streetlight being on) lit up a baby blue. They stayed bright long enough for my friend to turn around to see what I was staring at (I was apparently sitting there slack-jawed!). She saw the bright color, then there was a quick yellow/orange flash and all went dark again.
We waited for the firework boom (because it must have been a huge firework someone obtained illegally as far as we thought), but no sound. We waited, then finally had to go look outside. We stared at the dark clear sky for another minute or two, then 'boom'! We ran inside to check cnn for info on any attack or explosion... nothing till today.

I live in Bergen County, New Jersey. Around 1:00 am, I saw what looking like a flaming mass soaring through the sky. Nobody believed me.

I live in Bergen County, New Jersey. Around 1:00 am, I saw what looking like a flaming mass soaring through the sky. Nobody believed me.

I was reading in my living room around 1:00 a.m. when a flash of light outside caught my eye. I then heard a very loud boom and the windows shook a little. I thought at first it was a thunder storm so looked outside, but it wasn't raining. I live near APG and also thought perhaps they were doing night testing.

Around 1 am we were taking a walk in Baltimore County and saw a bright flash followed by what appeared to be a fireball falling from the sky followed by a loud boom about one minute later.

I live right behind C. Milton Wright HS. At around 1-1:30am I was asleep; I woke up to my husband jumping to look out the window. He said he heard a huge boom/explosion. He said the house shook like an earthquake. Several people at my job heard or felt the same thing. Would have loved to have seen it!!

Me and my fiance were sitting on the deck. it was around 1am. when the whole porch light up and I saw a burning black mass with a brilliant silver tail. the tail looked like a sparkler would but it made no sound. About three minutes later we heard a deep boom. We barely felt it. We are in pikesville MD facing north right next to 83 ( we can hear the cars).

At around 1 am or so this morning while in my living room I saw out of the corner of my eye a flash of light. We have a rather large window sitting in the room and flying across it I saw a large bright object emitting an orange color suddenly fly across and head in what I believe was a northernly direction. At first I thought it was some sort of firework but after replaying the image in my head it didn't seem to fit. It was so cool I even posted about it on facebook right away to see if any of my friends still up might have seen it. I live in Jefferson, Maryland.

Attention Posters: Please post your location with your posts (city/town), including any other information (how long after the light did you hear the boom, etc.). This is important information and will help establish a flight-path.

I heard it as well after midnight around 1:00 AM. I live in the Forest Hill/Hickory area and the noise/vibration was to my north. I was surprised to not hear sirens afterwards since I was convinced it was an explosion on the ground.

About 1:15am, my son Daniel and myself both heard and felt this LOUD BOOM. It shock the whole house. We both tried to figure it out what it was. I quickly looked up weather radar, because I have felt and heard thunder in the past this loud. While we were outside I told my son it felt just like the Earthquake that was reported just a few months before. We even looked to see if a tree fell on our garage or something. But never figured it out. I'm so glad to hear that we were not the only ones that heard and felt it. I do remember the sky was very bright and clear but I did not see anything. We live just Northof Rocks State Park in Street,MD just off RT#24 and not far from Rt# 165.
I hope no one was hurt and would like to know now where this landed.

You are right about high up in the atmosphere these things occur. I will never forget a late night driving on I10 (I think) in AL in the early 90's on my way to new Orleans, about 3 am, and I saw a "fireball" fly over almost completely in line with the interstate. The whole sky lit up like it was day. I was having an "Xfiles" moment. But the next day, it was all over the news and was seen in some 5-6 different states. Thats how high up it was. Was really cool now that I look back on it.

Forest Hill, MD : Last night around 1:15 we heard what we thought might be an explosion or a plane crashing. There was a tremendous BOOM and the entire house shook. We checked outside to find nothing notable.

I live just east of Bel Air, and heard it a little after 1:00 a.m.

I figured I had just heard some kind of leftover fireworks or something that was fired close by, though it also reminded me of hearing ordinance from APG. Just louder, in either case.

I live in Forest Hill and was awoken by the huge explosion-type boom and the house was shaking like an earthquake. I looked at my watch and it was 1:07 a.m. I really expected to hear sirens, I knew something big had happened.

My friend and I were driving around 1 when we saw it. I thought it was a firework at first because of how close it looked but it didn't explode and it disappeared. We were in Silver Spring, MD which is very far from everyone else here.

FR: We appreciate these reports, but please remember to include not only your location, but the direction you were looking, the direction of the meteor, and the height above the horizon where you saw it. (Was it directly overhead, traveling south to north? Halfway up the from the horizon? Moving from high overhead to the northern horizon?) There are people who read these reports and try to calculate the meteor's track based on eyewitness accounts. Thanks.

It was around 1:10 am and I heard a big boom and it shook my entire house, I thought something fell upstairs until I started talking to friends in Forest Hill that felt the same thing.

While up late working I let the dogs out and heard a very loud boom to the East-SouthEast. It shook the ground slightly. I knew I would read something about it today and here it is. Littlestown. PA.

Fallston, Harford County Maryland. 1:11am

I was sitting at my computer with my bedroom windows open and my door closed. All the sudden I felt a gush of air flow through my window next to me, and my wooden door rattled violently in its frame as if someone and ran into it at full speed!

I immediately thought we were either being bombed, or an asteroid strike had occurred. However, I remained speechless as the the thought of either seemed very unlikely. I feel somewhat vindicated now that I know I correctly guessed!

I was visiting my parents, who just moved to Winchester Virginia. I was lying in bed, which faces a window, (which faces north) when I saw the flash and subsequent fireball streak across the sky. It was about 1:05 am. To remove any doubt that it may be left over 4th of july revelers, I ran outside, but the neighborhood was silent. I have seen a fireball once before 2 years ago, and that's definitely what this was. Very exciting!

While working overnight security in Thurmont, MD early this morning I saw two very bright lights cast on the ground in front of me around 1:10am, so turning around to see if it was a car approaching I noticed a pair of extremely bright lights fall down past the tree line. The light was as bright as burning magnesium and was actually casting a shadow in the split second that it was visible. I did not recognize any sound at the time though, but had been hearing fireworks all night so I may have overlooked it.

FR: Good report. Thanks. First one to note the meteor cast a sahdow.

I was lying on my stomach on my bed last night and suddenly heard a loud boom, like something heavy had dropped in the house. However, this loud boom also shook my body. It felt as though I had been shocked by one of those electrical fences they use for horse; it didn't hurt, but my vibrated inside. I at first thought my dad had fallen out of bed but this morning my brother told me him and his friends had been outside when it occurred and saw a flash and the felt the same feeling I had. It was quite spooky at first but kind of cool now that I know it was something that doesn't happen often!

Frank, any reports of this being caught on video surveillance cameras? There should be meteorites on the ground from this event!

FR: No video reports so far. But anyone with outdoor security cameras should check their Monday morning tapes. If you find a flash, send me a copy. Not so sure about anything reaching the ground. And unless there's a smoking crater somewhere, finding meteorites in this part of the world, with all our water and woodlands, would be all but impossible.

I live in north Bel Air off of Rt. 543 and heard a very loud boom that shook the whole house around 1:10AM last night. Didn't get a chance to see it as I was half asleep at the time but it woke me right up.

my son Tim saw a bright light about 1:00am and 3 minutes later I woke up to the house shaking..I got up and went out and he asked me if I saw or heard it..I told him the boom woke me up
but didnt know what it was we live in Port Deposit Md

Between 1:05 and 1:10 AM Me and My son heard what sounded like a very loud explosion. We live in the Hickory area north of Bel Air. The sound appeared to come from the north.

I live in Northern Bel Air and heard a very loud BOOM! It sounded like a bomb went off. I only heard the one boom and I didn't see a light in the sky because I didn't look. It woke my son up from his sleep. This was a little after 1AM.

We live in Forest Hill, Maryland near the intersection of Rts. 23 and 24 and around 1:15 a.m. ish (?) we heard a loud noise and the whole house shook. We thought there was an explosion somewhere nearby. We did not see the light or any direction.

Heard it here in Seven Valleys, PA. I told my husband about it this morning, and I said, "It sounds silly, but it sounded just like what I'd imagine a meteor sounds like." Indeed! Unfortunately, I only have a rough approximation of the time (after midnight) and was not observing the sky. But the noise was bizarre.

FR: Hi Jenny (a former neighbor). Thanks!

Churchville, MD: Around 1:15, just after I started to fall asleep, I heard a tremendous explosoin type noise. Growing up much closer to APG, I can accurately state the noise was MUCH louder and my house shook more than I have ever experienced.

I did a little research based on some friends' Facebook comments and actually spent several hours driving all the roads north of MD Rt. 165 into southern PA. Unfortunately, I saw nothing notable, no strange government vehicles, no military aircraft, and no organized searches.

The explosion was so tremendous, I could only assume something impacted the earth.

I live in Arnold MD around 1 am I was laying in my bed facing my window which face's south. My blinds weren't totally open but all of sudden my room filled with blue light and it looked like it was pulsating It was amazing but scared me at the same time No one believed me today when I told them what I saw I am glad to know other people saw it too!

Kevin Ellis's report is the most interesting.......

"He felt a air rush" Meaning he was very close to the end point of this event.

The "Chicora" meteorite was found from seeing and feeling an air rush. Other meteorites have been found from air pushes.

Most people are hearing sounds, some 30 secs after the event 6 miles away to 2 minutes....24 miles away.

I suspect if any meteorites are to be found they will be found near Mr Fallston MD


Ricky Nowak


FR: Interesting, but I don't buy it. First, the "air rush" could have been a breeze. Second, how to explain observers well north of Fallston seeing the meteor to their north? I'll bet the ranch no piece of this object survived to reach the ground. They rarely do.

1:08am, July 6, 2009, awoke to bright flash and large boom, flash seen from northwest facing window, witnessed in Conowingo area of Cecil County, MD. Thought it was a propane explosion at the gas company up the road.

We live in Forest Hill, MD and I could not sleep last night so I was watching TV. Around 1am I remember seeing a very bright light out of the corner of my eyes though my window which spooked me. So I walked around the house and looked out the windows thinking perhaps it was cars driving in and out. Probably about 5 minutes later I heard a very loud boom that shook the whole house. My husband who was sleeping heard the boom and we walked around trying to figure out what it was. He said at the time it felt like it was something underground. Going on the internet I just now put together the flash of light and loud sound. WOW. Never experienced anything like it.

me and my friend nathan were out on my back porch in foresthill maryland and we saw a huge light shine up over the house almost like th houst had been scanned by a huge copy machine but there was no sound we then heard the birds going crazy and we thought the sun was comin up but it was only 1:05 in the morning we were then freaked out about the brids. When were just about to walk in side we heard 2 large booming noises that shook the whole house and cause a trophie to fall off of my friend brads shelf. We imdietly ran into the house for saftey we thought that someone had been shot or somethin blew up. We started calling people and a girl audry i didnt even ask said to have heard a loud boom as well and she lives in piles ville maryland. at that point we were completley spooked and called the belair police office to hear that it was a meteor

I was driving southbound on I-83 between the Mount Rose and Queen Street exits in York at about 1:05 am when I saw a very bright pale blue flash in the eastern sky. It lasted for about 2 seconds and it illuminated the tree lines along the eastern side of the highway...immediately following that, there was a white ball descending fast from a southern direction, traveling northward. It had a trailing tail on it that looked like orange and white sparkler type colors. A couple seconds later it faded out of view. Because I was driving I didn't hear any noise or feel any vibration in the roadway. Was a truly amazing thing to see.

Outside at a bonfire with girlfriend and at 1:05 the sky lit up. It was already bright because of the moon but we were looking at the fire and suddenly it looked like a large firecracker went off overhead and the ground completely lit up. We looked up saw something going through the sky. It was a few colors but then it changed to orange and the trail out the back disappeared. At 1:07 we heard the crash and we are located in Jarrettsville

Last night (early this morning) at about 1:00-1:30am in forest hill maryland I was over a friends house and saw a very very bright light shine on us and about 3-5 min after the light there was a loud and deep rumble that actually knocked a glass cup of the counter and it broke...all of our friends in the area also said they hear it. I called the bel air police department and they said it was a meteor


There is much confusion and lack of data which these events create.

Right now where using house shakes, which side? East West North South and sound travel.........

No mass no sonic boom......... In this case we have a sonic boom (mass) how much mass? Only by recovery of meteorites can this question be answered.

Yes these recovers are very rare:)

Interesting how he felt a breeze at this time and end point on meteors do create wind gusts.

Gathering more data will help in drawing the right conclusions.


Ricky Nowak


Greensburg, PA - between 1:00 and 1:10am a large meteor fell in the southeast quadrant of the sky. I was sitting on my porch facing due east. Venus was located at approx. 15 degrees east of south. The meteor tail started just above Venus, it had a slight curve to it heading downward toward the east. The colors started white, changed to a vivid blue then turned to red as the meteor dissipated. There was a blue flash in the sky, and as it turned red, there was what appeared to be a bright orange shield in front of the meteor. As it turned red and dissipated it seemed as if ambers were breaking off from behind, then it disappeared over the rooftops. No sound or vibrations, firework-like, spectacular sight.

FR: Thanks for the report. BTW, the bright planet in the southeast at that hour was Jupiter, not Venus.

Last night, my daughter and I were up around 12:30-12:45. We both came out of our rooms at the same time. I thought a house had exploded in our neighborhood. Our doors rattled and the house shook. We didn't see anything, just the loud muffled noise.

It was sometime after one a.m. when a few family members and friends were all gathered around a fire pit in my back yard in Palmyra, PA. A bright ice blue light lit up the sky and the yard which brought our attention to the bright, thin, orange streak of light that was followed by a thick, ice blue streak. Didn't last more a second or two but made no noise.

I was biking home and saw this in Philadelphia. I live in West Philly and was biking in the West South West direction; the meteor's trajectory was almost exactly perpendicular to mine, heading North. I was very lucky because I was about 10 seconds from my place, looking at the ground (watching out for pot holes) when this bright light caused me to look up and see the meteor (it was green-ish in color). There was a guy walking his dog on the same street who didn't seem to notice it because the street lights are quite bright in the city and he was distracted by his dog...this might explain why there don't seem to be other Philly observations. I first saw it at approximately 70 degrees from the southern horizon (measured from my left, south) and the final explosion happened at about 90 degrees in my field of vision. (If I had to guess at the angle from the Western horizon I would say 60 degrees). After the final explosion, there were multiple pieces that fell away like fireworks or embers from a fire, and they faded quite quickly and had an orange-red hue. They seemed to fall towards the Earth, still drifting North from the original momentum of the meteor. I can't recall clearly enough, but I would guess I had saw between 4-8 or more pieces.

The angle of descent was not very steep---I would say -30 degrees, which means the meteor had more time to burn than many examples one can find on youtube where they are falling at a steep angle. Thus I strongly suspect that nothing reached the ground.

The closest example to the look of the meteor is this footage (though it doesn't capture the angle and descent nor the proximity of the one I saw, the look and flare of it was similar):

What I saw looked much closer than what is shown in this video.

Finally, I did not hear a sonic boom. It was 1:05 AM (I checked my watch after seeing it) so I didn't think to wait for the boom; the background noise of the city and being indoors might have prevented me from hearing it, but I would have noticed a shaking of the windows and heard and felt nothing. The sonic boom seems to have been substantially attenuated by the time it reached Philadelphia, which strongly suggests that the individuals who did hear/feel the boom were closer to the path of the meteor.

Good luck to all the meteorite hunters!

FR: Terrific report. Thanks!

I'm up in Monkton, and was at the computer at about 1:15 a.m., and heard a deep "boom" that sounded like what a loud gunshot would from a distance. I thought it was someone trying to be obnoxious with a firework, but this explains it. This is awesome, hope it didn't hit anyone's property.

This is bizarre! We live between Delta and Fawn Grove, PA. About an hour ago, my husband asked if I had heard the, "BOOM," in the middle of the night, but I slept through it. So I'm checking to catch up on local news, and I find the story about this event. A few searches later and here I am, reading everyone's reports.

What I would like to know is if there are any reports of an identical situation happening in this same area about 2-3 weeks ago. Because what I'm reading here is exactly the same thing we experienced in the middle of the day somewhere around June 19th or so. We chalked it up to a sonic boom and never heard anything else about it. Anyone?

Brenda in Fawn Grove

i was laying in bed listening to music (on noise-cancelling headphones) and heard a huge booming sound around 1:10 am that shook the entire house. i posted on facebook and twitter about it, thinking it was a small earthquake. i live in forest hill, md, right off 543.

Sorry...I just went back through my Google searches, and the explosive, midday boom we experienced here on the MD/PA border was on June 8th, 2009.


I was explaining what I could to my boyfriend from Mexico. He says that Mexico has this happen a lot. The meteor land in the water but on impact is when you do hear and feel what "robert rohe" reported from Freeland, MD. So I'm think he would be the closest to anything if it did hit the earth. He is the one who said about the pressure building in his house and windows opening . But whatever it was I thankful No one was hurt. I'm in Street,MD. I reportedto you earlier on what my son and myself felt and heard. This is kind of scary because I recently watch the MOVIE on channel 2 called "IMPACT". Just what I expierence made me think of the movie and when I began reading all the reports it really got me thinking. We should all be thinking about this and start treat each day as if it could be our last. Be thankful for what we have. And be loving to our family , friends and neighbors. GOD BLESS everyone . May peace be with you always.

Something literally shook our house at around 1 A.M. July 6th. We live in Delta, PA, right on the Mason/Dixon line. It sounded like thunder but rolled a fairly long time after the climax of the sound.

In my room on my laptop around 1 in the morning. See a bright light out my window and witness a large ball of light with a tail fall to the NE. Heard no sound or felt no rattle but definitely scared me for a while.

FR: Telling us the direction was to the NE doesn't help without knowing your location. People are trying to triangulate on these reports to plot the meteor's track. The meteor's elevation above the horizon and direction of travel are also important.

I was driving home with a friend last night on west on route 80 in NorthWest Jersey. Right before I got to 287 we saw a blue light (rock) and a tail of fire. The fire was pretty detailed so we thought it was very close to us. It looked like it was going to land in front of us so we pulled over. It was very hard to tell how big and how far away it was. This was around 1am. We didn't hear a sound but it was pretty crazy looking. DAMN!!! ha

This is the poster from before with the "air rush"

Here's what led me to describe it as a rush:

When my windows are open, the door likes to move around with the pressure differences that strong shifting winds create during storms and such. On this particular occasion the movement of the door was more violent than I have ever experienced during storm winds, leading me to believe that a strong pressure gradient passed through.

I am at 39.514, -76.441
One of the windows faces near due west, the one next to me nearly due east, with a closed door between them, both windows open at the time.

Frank, this is a follow up to my post and your reply above.

Do not count out meteorites coming from this one. You are right that they usually don't, but more often that we think, they do.

I have been chasing meteorites full time for 17 years. This has the marks of the real deal. We recovered several hundred meteorites from a similar fall near Waco TX on Feb 15th of this year. If this one produced hundreds of meteorite fragments too, all we need to do is get the first one found, then the hunting on foot can turn up many more from the strewnfield within a few miles of the first one.

Please ask for footage from stationary cameras. The bulls eye can be triangulated to within a couple of miles with good footage (I am sorry, but eye witness accounts are too subjective, at least compared to a security camera tape).

Once the general area is narrowed down, then the locals can be put on notice to "look down."

I would bet something will turn up within a week if people just start looking in the right place.

I live in Colora (Cecil County) and around 1:00am I had just gotten into bed and was getting ready to dose off when all of a sudden I heard & felt a large single boom. My room is on the second floor and on the north side. Didn't notice a flash of light but felt the house do a quick shake. Definitely knew there wasn't any 1:15am testing going on at Aberdeen Proving Ground (I work there). I thought it was a minor earthquake, since one just happened near Bear, DE a few days ago. Relieved to know I wasn't the only one that noticed. I experienced a similar situation around Nov/Dec but actually seen a flash that lit up the sky then a fraction of a second later, heard the boom. Nothing was reported in the news then.

I live in Southern Jarrettsville, near Fallston and Forest Hill. I was online at the time that I heard the boom and felt my house shake. It sounded like it came from the North so I imagined the local gas station or even Peach Bottom blew up. I ran into my brother's room to see if he was still awake or heard/felt anything and he hadn't. I checked online to see if there was anything about the odd sound in the news or anything and didn't find anything. A short time after I heard the boom I heard a plane flying above my house... sounded like a small privately owned aircraft. Then my imagination had me thinking about attacks but the lack of information online made me think I was nuts so I went to bed. No body talked about it at work in Bel Air so I didn't think anything of it until a friend from Delta asked if I heard/felt something at around 1 in the morning and informed me that it was probably a meteorite and then I researched and found this site! It's all quite fascinating! Wouldn't airplane pilots report odd sightings/ locations in events like this? I mean it was less than a minute that that plane was over head after the initial boom.

The boom came at 8 minitues after 1 am at Aberdeen!

Thank you so much for this excellent coverage of the "big explosion." I am kind of "bummed" that I did not see the meteor. I do not have anything new to add. We did hear the explosion in Forest Hill/Fallston. The sound seemed to come from the front of the house, northeast, shook the house, and rattled a window fan. My husband said it sounded like a big explosion far away. I enjoyed reading everyone's posts. Thanks!

We live 10-15 minutes NE of Delta, PA. We were awakened shortly after 1 am by a loud rumbling, unlike anything we've ever heard. We thought the gas pipeline station in Delta exploded and we listened for sirens. It was very eerie.

A little before 1AM July 6th, as I was about to crawl into bed (lights were out) I noticed a brilliant white light shining down on my windowsill. I live by a road and see car lights bounce around my room, but this was different. It came from above. Unless a car was suspended by the sky, I believe this could have been the light casted off of reported meteor. As bright as it was, it was here and gone in seconds. I live in Hummelstown, PA.

Felt a shake after 1am Monday morning. I live next to a rock quarry plus it was just after the Fourth of July so I didnt think it odd.

Adding on to the comment "Posted by: Adam, Ben, and Jon | July 6, 2009 4:17 PM", all 3 were staying over at our house, and they typically take a late night walk together. They were on the ball fiels of Timonium Elementary, which has a clear view of the northerly sky. They said it was between 1am and 1:15am that the whole of the grounds were lit up almost like day. As they looked up toward the north they saw the streak, and then heard the sonic boom. After viewing a video of a meteor on youtube they declared it to look exactly as that video did. That video had a streak and then a fireball, which accords exactly with what they told me. They estimated the whole event took about 6 seconds.

I was outside right around 1 am in Fallston, MD. The sky lit up with a giant flash right overhead and streaked all the way to nearly the horizon. It was so bright and as dark as it was it actually hurt my was amazing. I was speaking to my sister at the time in CO. and a few minutes went by before I heard two giant consecutive bangs and a deep rumble...I thought it struck the earth...That same sister didnt believe me and said she would fly home if it was plausible....hope she booked tickets!

FR: "Right overhead" is a helpful marker. But toward which horizon??

I heard and felt the meteor hit the ground at or around 1 A.M. in the mourning, location Aberdeen, Maryland. I was asleep at the time and it woke me and my wife up. I said to my wife what the hell was that?, when I woke up.

FR: What you heard and felt was not the meteor hitting the ground. If it hit that hard, there would be a smoking crater someplace and we'd all know about it. Rather, it was a sonic boom, triggered by the meteor as it hit the atmosphere at 60,000 or 120,000 mph - many times the speed of sound.

We live in Perry Hall, MD near Fullerton, and a little after 1 am, we heard a boom (like a distant explosion)that sounded like it came from the north and we could feel the vibration in our room.

Sorry, towards the western horizon...ended just above it seemed..

Eastern I think...sorry had to check my bearing...I will give rough degrees to north in relation to my location in Fallston, when I find a compass...

Your posting from "DaveW" is actually from me "Scott E.".... and it was directly to the north-east from directly overhead...

Early monday moring around 1am in jarrettsville me and my boyfriend and one of my friends were out side talking and out of no where the sky lit up. 5 seconds later a big ball of light flew past us...going north towards PA. About 30seconds after it pasted we heard a big bang and then the ground rumbled like an earth quake for about a minute long. It was so creepy so we called 2 of our friends that live 20min away in 2 different directions and they heard the same thing. And one of my friends that live in Delta PA said their whole house shook. It was one of the most crazyist things i have ever seen.

I live in Newark, Delaware. It was around 1:00 am Monday, me and my son were walking around outside when i saw a bright light traveling through the sky. Lit up the hole neighborhood. Even my daughter who was up at the time saw the light through her bed room window. Half an hour later we thought we heard a boom, and the ground shook.

I live in parkton, md. I couldn't sleep and just after 1 am i heard the loud boom that rocked our house. I grabbed my shotgun and went outside thinking something happened just outside. About 3 minutes later 2 police helicopters went right over heading northwest over prettyboy damn. At the time i had no idead what it was....

I heard about this sighting on the radio this morning (7.7.09) and I can't be sure if it was the power of suggestion, a true sighting, or my dilusional early morning eyes...but I believe I saw a meteorite in this morning's clear and daylit sky.

I am an environmental scientist and was working up in Wilmington, DE and looking up at a cloudless sky @ 7:40am facing northwest from the intersection of 29th and Market St. (Business 13). It looked like a vapor trail, but very quick and shooting downward and vanashed almost instantly. Noone else on-site was looking upward or noticed.

It could have been unrelated to the incident and just debris or something, but I think it interesting coincidence.

Some friends and I saw it after 1am in north east, maryland heading toward the PA area, and it lit up the entire sky. Two minutes later we heard a loud noise. Pretty crazy...

I was in northern Forest Hill / Jarrettsville area at the time so it was very dark in the middle of the woods with an open sky around my friends house. All of the sudden a little after 1 am the sky got so bright when I looked up and saw 3 dots of light that didn't appear to be moving at all. The light lasted for a few seconds and then disappeared out of nowhere. About a few minutes later at least we all heard a huge boom and could even feel it rumble in our chests. It honestly freaked every single one of my friends out....I knew there was supposed to be meteor showers but this didn't look like much of a meteor.

We were sitting on a deck at Buttonwood Beach outside Earlesville Maryland and at approximately 1:05am the sky lit up in a bluish white flash. Two of us then saw a white streak in the sky which appeared to be travelling due north across the Elk River. We heard no noise at that point. About a minute later we heard a very big boom and the ground shook. Aberdeen Proving Ground is across the bay and we have heard booms before but this was different. We decided to walk down to the beach to check it out. Several others came out of their trailers and security was on the beach with their spotlights.

I was sitting outside on my deck in White Marsh some time between midnight and 1:15 a.m. (into Monday morning). It was very dark out back...not many house lights were on, and although the moon was out, it was partly cloudy with not a great deal of visible stars. Suddenly out of the corner of my eye, to my left, I saw a very bright but stuttered falling white light. There were little flashes of white, green, and red falling around the sides of the quickly dropping white light. My first thought was that I had seen a falling star, so I made a wish! Then I thought perhaps my neighbor was lighting off a firework, but their house was dark, and I did not hear any noise. Perhaps I was too busy talking to myself excitedly at that point because I could not believe what I had just seen. Last night I sat on the deck between midnight and 12:15 and noted that my neighbors' deck lights on their posts were still lit - until 12:15 a.m., and I believe when I saw the meteorite that the deck was lit then. What is really interesting is that it appeared so close, and it looked like it just missed hitting the American flag flying from their deck. Also, because to the left of the neighbors' deck there are other yards and trees, it truly looked like whatever fell landed in one of these yards. I will never forget this experience! It was like nothing I have ever seen.

I did not read all of the comments so I was unaware of the importance regarding being more specific about where I was when the meteorite was spotted. This update pertains to the sighting from the deck in White Marsh (submitted posting July 7th at approximately 4 p.m.). The meteorite was seen in White Marsh (Baltimore County), MD, when I looked to the North towards where the Gunpowder River crosses Philadelphia Road near the Harford County line. We live a few miles away from the river between Pulaski Highway (Rt. 40) and Interstate 95. Hopefully this helps.

FR: Thanks. That does help. If you were facing north, and saw the meteor to your left, that places the track west of Baltimore. That fits with my calculations from other reports here, which suggest a trajectory from south southwest to north northeast, tracking just west of the Baltimore and Washington suburbs. The meteor was spotted by travelers in I-70, headed east toward Hagerstown, and by others looking west and southwest from southern New Jersey. From the Baltimore area, most observers saw the meteor moving from nearly directly overhead toward the north. Observers in this area and southern Pa. also were most likely to have heard the sonic boom, placing them closest to the meteor's flash. My guess is the object burned out over southeastern Pennsylvania. Any debris that survived (I have my doubts, but some experienced meteorite hunters think there's hope) should be up there somewhere. Just my opinion.

I was traveling southbound on I-83 and had just passed the Glen Rock (PA) exit at approximately 1:05 AM on Sunday night / Monday morning. My attention was captured by an extremely bright flash of light that illuminated the entire sky. The flash was even brighter than the full moon that was visible high in the sky in my forward field of vision. Looking up through my driver's side window, I was amazed to see a brilliant fireball almost directly overhead, moving in an easterly direction, perhaps a few degrees north of east if the highway were assumed to be a true north-south path. It left a distinct smoke trail and it flared through a bright and colorful path lasting no more than two or three seconds once I caught sight of the actual fireball.

I remember telling my wife that it was a rare treat to see such a fireball and that it must have been extremely bright to have lit up the sky on a clear moonlit night. The total duration may have been as much as five seconds because I had time to see the initial flash, yell "What was that?" to my wife, and then turn my head to see the fireball out of my driver's side window.

I cannot recall any noise or boom since I was in a moving vehicle with a radio playing. I will share that I enjoy stargazing and have spent many nights out watching meteor showers. I have never seen anything so impressive in the night sky.

I live in Aberdeen MD and heard the loud boom Sunday night/Monday morning. Sounded just like the explosions at APG but this came from the opposite direction so I knew it was not APG explosion. I did not see the light but definately heard the sonic boom. Before reading all of the postings I told a friend at lunch today that I figured the sound came from the Jarretsville to Cockesville area. I would love to hear if there is any hope of finding the fragments. I would love to join a "search" party. Thanks!

I was spending the night at my friends house and the house shook and i heard a big boom! My friend, My brother, and me went and checked around with my friends mom. But there was no sign of nothing.

FR: Fascinating. Thanks.

I live in Bel Air and was awake for the loud "boom" in the middle of the night! I had no idea what it was. It sounded very loud, but far off in the distance. The house shook a bit. I tried to wake the hubby but he just slept through it. I found out yesterday it was the meteor.

From Fayette County, PA (southwestern PA, 50 miles south of Pittsburgh). This won't add to information, you all have it pinpointed well and good luck, but I still want to share. I was sitting on my back porch, facing south with my tan porch-blind all the way down. THROUGH the blind, I saw a streak in the southern sky, falling then a bright flash. Being a skywatcher all my life, I jumped up pulled up the blind, but it was gone. Never thought to wait for a boom or noise, although, wouldn't have heard one. I have learned alot from this site and it is wonderful to hear everyone's experience. Wonder when the next meteor shower will come--I think 2nd week of August? Thanks for the great accounts and the forum to post them!

I was sleeping in bed and woke to a gigantic reverberating boohoooooooooommmMMMMMMMMMMMM!The whole house shook. I knew something happened, but had no idea what. I thought maybe an after fourth of July firework accident happened-but this seemed huger than that. Then I got scared there was some nuclear explosion. (Like tmi or something.) The sound seemed to come from the north. My bedroom windows face north-looking towards York. I live in Stewartstown. I raced around closing all the windows afraid of radiation! I checked the internet and news immediately in case we needed to evacuate/see what happened. Nothing. Checked the time then-it was 1:20am.
Even the next day I heard nothing and couldn't believe that nobody said anything about it. Glad to finally learn about these posts/sightings for confirmation of what I witnessed and plausible explanation.
Oh-and I didn't see anything-lights or otherwise-but perhaps I had slept through that part?

I am looking for reliable witnesses to interview for a tracking the fireballs trajectory and are looking for those that actually witnessed the fireball first-hand. Information about its direction, when the fireball appeared to have burned out and time that the sonic boom reached the witness after observing the fireball would be useful in narrowing a search field. Mike Hankey and myself are still searching Lancaster PA for meteorites if any...
If you have any more information please email me at:

include meteor/fireball in the subject and your city/location somewhere in the email.

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About Frank Roylance
This site is the Maryland Weather archive. The current Maryland Weather blog can be found here.
Frank Roylance is a reporter for The Baltimore Sun. He came to Baltimore from New Bedford, Mass. in 1980 to join the old Evening Sun. He moved to the morning Sun when the papers merged in 1992, and has spent most of his time since covering science, including astronomy and the weather. One of The Baltimore Sun's first online Web logs, the Weather Blog debuted in October 2004. In June 2006 Frank also began writing comments on local weather and stargazing for The Baltimore Sun's print Weather Page. Frank also answers readers’ weather queries for the newspaper and the blog. Frank Roylance retired in October 2011. Maryland Weather is now being updated by members of The Baltimore Sun staff

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