Daylight fireball over Mississippi: Meteorites found!

Stone covered in black crust sitting on tan pebbles.
The daylight fireball in Mississippi has yielded meteorites on the ground. Image via Linda Welzenbach Fries/ NASA Meteor Watch Facebook page.

Update: Meteorites recovered from Mississippi daylight fireball

NASA Meteor Watch reported April 30, 2022, on their Facebook page that people in southwest Mississippi have been finding meteorites – bits of rock on the ground – from the April 27 daylight fireball. The website said:

There are confirmed reports of meteorites being found in the area east of Natchez. Existing law states that any meteorites belong to the owner of the property on which they fell; out of respect for the privacy of those in the area, we will not disclose the locations of these finds.

The web page also asked people not to send them photos of any meteorites they may find. Instead, they referred them to Washington University in St. Louis. The NASA Meteor Watch page said:

We are not meteorite people, as our main focus is protecting spacecraft and astronauts from meteoroids. So we will be unable to identify any strange rocks you may find. Please do not send us rock photos, as we will not respond. If you wish to know whether the rock you have is a meteorite, please consult the following link.

NASA Meteor Watch also said that this would be the fifth recorded meteorite fall in Mississippi, with the others occurring in 1854, 1910, 1922 and 2012.

Rare daylight fireball

On the morning of Wednesday, April 27, 2022, the American Meteor Society (AMS) received reports of a rare daylight fireball occurring over the southern states of Mississippi and Louisiana. It appeared at 8:05 a.m. CDT and has been reported by 45 witnesses so far.

Did you see it? Report it to the AMS/IMO.

So far there is one known video of the event (see tweet above). The computer generated trajectory indicates the fireball entered the atmosphere east of Fayette, Mississippi, moving in an east to west direction. The fireball terminated near Anna, Mississippi, a few miles east of the Mississippi River. A witness just a few miles north of the path reported hearing a delayed sonic boom-like sound, indicating that fragments of this fireball may have survived down to the surface of the Earth.

Map of south Mississippi with human figures representing daylight fireball sightings.
Locations of reported sightings of the rare daylight fireball seen in the American South on April 27, 2022. Image via American Meteor Society.

Frequency of daylight fireballs

Readers might be surprised that meteors can also be seen during the daylight hours. Just like you can see the moon during the daylight hours, when a meteor exceeds a magnitude of -8 (comparable to the brightness of a half-illuminated moon), you can see it, too, with the unaided eye as long as it appears far enough from the sun. The AMS receives an average of one daylight event per month from all over the world. This is far less than 1% of the total events recorded per month.

Did you see it? Report it to the AMS/IMO.

Bottom line: Searchers have found meteorites (rocks on the ground) from the rare daylight fireball that was seen over the U.S. states of Mississippi and Louisiana on April 27, 2022. These meteorites landed near Natchez, Mississippi.

May 4, 2022

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Robert Lunsford

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