(file picture, courtesy NASA)
Becky Bruce reporting
It's a UFO no more. An unidentified flying object spotted over the mountains between Salt Lake and Tooele has been identified as a rare daytime fireball; a meteor big enough and close enough to be spotted when the sun's still out.
We had several e-mails, and so did NASA's ambassador to Utah Patrick Wiggins. We asked him what conditions need to be in place to see a daytime meteor. He said, "Size would be part of it, certainly how fast it's going, if it was going really slow for a meteor; that is, it wouldn't get bright enough."
At least one of the people who e-mailed KSL was also able to hear the fireball. Wiggins says that's an indication that the meteor was very close to the ground compared to what you normally encounter. Wiggins said, "Typical meteors, they are so far away that you can't hear them. So if, in fact, these people were able to actually hear a sonic boom, that would indicate that it was pretty low in the sky."
Wiggins added, "Meteors are happening literally all the time -- 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Most of them, however, are not bright enough to be seen during the day, so it sounds like this was one of the exceptions.
"I've seen a few daytime ones, but I've never seen and heard one during the day, so they lucked out! This is really neat."
If you saw the meteor and took a picture, submit it using the link above and to the right.