Did Anyone See This Wonderful Unknown on 4 October?

Ed Cannon (ecannon@mail.utexas.edu)
Thu, 17 Oct 1996 02:53:27 -0500

This is from a story found at http://ccf.arc.nasa.gov/sst/10-15-96.html 
regarding a meteoroid that entered the atmosphere, skipped, and then went 
around for one orbit, between approximately 2:00 and 4:00 UT on 4 October:

> ... the object first entered Earth's atmosphere about 8 p.m. MDT on 
> Oct. 3 east of Las Cruces, N.M., headed east-northeast and slowed while 
> it descended at a shallow angle toward the Texas Panhandle. 
>
> It came the closest to Earth's surface near Artesia, N.M., where it began 
> breaking apart, spraying a brilliant shower of lesser meteorites extending 
> at least as far as Lubbock, Texas. 
>
> The biggest fragment hurtled back into space at 18,450 mph -- too slow 
> to escape Earth's gravity -- and briefly became a small moon, making a 
> single, 100-minute orbit of the Earth. 
>
> It re-entered the atmosphere above the Pacific Ocean and passed over the 
> California coast near Point Conception. The mass, glowing with heat from 
> the re-entry, continued its journey just north of Bakersfield. 

WAY COOL!!  I heard a very brief news mention of a fireball over the
southwestern U.S. that night; this is the first I've read about it since.
(MDT is Mountain Daylight Time = UT - 6.)

Below are Internet addresses I found for the two scientists quoted in the 
story:

> John Wasson (UCLA)
>   http://www.ess.ucla.edu/facpages/wasson.html
>   wasson@cosmic.igpp.ucla.edu 
>
> Mark Boslough (Sandia National Lab. -- http://www.sandia.gov/)
>   mbboslo@sandia.gov

Ed Cannon
ecannon@mail.utexas.edu
30.3 N by 97.8 W