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Predicted meteor may have been sighted

A large meteor reportedly was sighted last night by a KLM airlines pilot near the time and place predicted by astronomers hours earlier. It was the first time astronomers have ever identified an Earth-bound space rock and predicted its arrival. (See previous post.)

Here's the report, from an online rumor network for professional pilots:

"The following potentially confirming report comes from Jacob Kuiper, General Aviation meteorologist at the National Weather Service in the Netherlands: "Half an hour before the predicted impact of asteroid 2008 TC3, I informed an official of Air-France-KLM at Amsterdam airport about the possibility that crews of their airliners in the vicinity of impact would have a chance to see a fireball. And it was a success! I have received confirmation that a KLM airliner, roughly 750 nautical miles southwest of the predicted atmospheric impact position, has observed a short flash just before the expected impact time 0246 UTC. Because of the distance it was not a very large phenomenon, but still a confirmation that some bright meteor has been seen in the predicted direction."

Another pilot reported the following:

"Yes, I saw it from over central Europe - a bigger brighter trail than the usual shooting star, terminated by an explosion. All over in about a second, but definitely an unusual event."
Here's more from Spaceweather.com And here's a time-exposure image of the asteroid taken yesterday just hours before it reached Earth.

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About the blogger
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 1993, 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.
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