Reports Report 9579acg (Event 9579-2022)

This report has been linked to the following event: Event 9579-2022
NameJohn F
Experience Level3/5
AddressForty Fort, PA
Latitude41° 17' 57.58'' N (41.3°)
Longitude 75° 50' 41.35'' W (-75.84°)
Time and Duration
Local Date & Time2022-12-01 19:30 EST
UT Date & Time2022-12-02 00:30 UT
Moving directionFrom up right to down left
Descent Angle239°
Facing azimuth241.68°
First azimuth264.92°
First elevation26°
Last azimuth227.24°
Last elevation19°
Brightness and color
Stellar Magnitude-7
ColorLight Blue, Green, Orange, Yellow, White
Concurrent Sound
Delayed Sound
Persistent train
Terminal flash
RemarksI was near the airport and I initially thought it was the approach light of a plane coming in to land. The airport is almost exclusively Cessna single engine prop planes, so my father and I quickly realized this was not a plane given its speed. It grew in size as it streamed down and at its largest was far bigger than any star in the sky, but still considerably smaller than the moon. About halfway through its course it began to fragment dramatically. If you’ve ever watched the footage of the Columbia space shuttle disaster the fragmentation looked incredibly similar to that. There was a main bright ball of fire with visible firey offshoots separating from it. It displayed a decent range of colors. The fireball disappeared before exiting our view on the horizon. Because of this, my father and I speculated it must’ve been celestial, as we figured if this was a plane having a serious emergency or a satellite burning up that it would have continued to be a visible fireball until it disappeared over the horizon. We live just north of the Poconos so there are mountains all around us, but it both came into and disappeared from our view before going behind any mountain. We were facing West when we saw it. Facing west, it traveled from our right to our left and lasted less than 10 seconds, and probably less than 5. My father who is quite the meteor shower fan said it was the most incredible “shooting star” he’d ever witnessed. Very cool but also sort of unnerving. Part of me expected to go home and see a story of a downed airliner or cruise missile strike, while another pet of me was waiting for the rolling wave of fire to engulf us from an impact. Take this with a grain of salt because neither of us are experts here, but my father said he’s never seen any example of a meteor being that low to the horizon without there being and impact or sonic boom due to it entering the atmosphere. There was categorically no sounds or sonic boom associated with this from our position in the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton area of Pennsylvania. Very very cool, but still not completely sure this was a space rock as I believe very well it could’ve been a satellite burning up. I’ve seen far less meteor showers than my father but usually in our area you’re looking straight up at them, and they very rarely get low to the horizon. This both started and ended lower in the horizon than anything I’ve ever seen.