Expert says flash of light and booming explosion were probably a fireball

November 27, 2013 9:50 PM

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MONTREAL - A Canadian expert says a bright flash of light accompanied by sounds of a booming explosion in parts of Eastern Canada were probably a good-sized fireball.

Numerous people posted Twitter messages reporting a blue flash and a thundering boom in the Montreal and Ottawa areas at about 8 p.m. eastern Tuesday.

Peter Brown, a physics professor at Western University in London, Ont., said the fact there was sound usually indicates something penetrated deeper into the atmosphere.

"That's often associated with things that may have made it to the ground," he said in a telephone interview Wednesday.

"It's certainly consistent with the effect we would expect for a relatively good-sized fireball that might produce meteorites."

Brown said he would not be surprised if meteorites landed somewhere on the ground.

He also said it would be difficult to speculate about the size of the fiery object because of a lack of information.

The university has a network of about a dozen video stations that watch the sky all night looking for bright meteors.

Brown, who researches meteors and comets, said it was cloudy and overcast Tuesday night and that no meteor was spotted in data that was collected.

"These (cameras) are concentrated in southern Ontario, although we do have cameras as far north as the Kingston area," he said.

But Brown suggested that the fireball may have been far enough away in the sky that none of his cameras were able to record the event.

One person in St-Lazare, west of Montreal, said she heard what sounded like a huge garbage truck rumble past her house for a few seconds.

A television station in Plattsburgh, N.Y. (WPTZ), near the Quebec border, reported receiving numerous phone calls reporting what sounded like an earthquake.


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