It was four years ago yesterday, but the meteorite that "must have landed" in the Eastern Sierran foothills near Bishop has yet to be found. It was 20:15 PST (04:15 12/27/96 GMT) a Monday night the day after Christmas, December 26, 1994. The four of us were in a car traveling north on the 210 Freeway near JPL, Pasadena, CA. My wife was driving and my sister-in-law was sitting beside her. They had the front row seats, but my son was looking to the right (east) and saw it first as just a pin point of light. He saw it grow brighter, and larger, and still larger, and still brighter! Seeing the fireball so early, he had time to wake me before the screams from the front seats reached my ears. I opened my eyes and, with my iris still wide open, stared up into a light the intensity and color of an electric arc torch. All four of us observed the fireball go down behind the San Gabriel Mountains. Within the next second all four of us witnessed a flash of light coming from behind those same mountains, as if it had impacted in the Mojave desert. With my next breath I heard myself speaking the words, "I must find that thing!", which surprised everyone in the car, myself included. "Find what thing?" "What WAS that THING?" Well, it's four years later and I've learned a lot about fireballs and bolides since then. Like, for instance, fireballs are much farther away than they appear. So, there was no impact in the Mojave Desert. It took me until ten days later to realize that the flash was 250 miles away and was the result of the fireball passing over the snow-capped Eastern Sierras and terminating in fragments somewhere southwest of Bishop, California. Actually, the "southwest of Bishop" took me another two months of more than 20 interviews and recording eye-witness accounts. When it became clear to me that what I was tracking down was a bolide that had fragmented upon termination, I started studying more into meteorites. With several eye-witnesses giving evidence to some of these fragments entering a phase of the trajectory known as "dark body flight", I started to realize that the accounts of a double sonic boom had less to do with the bolide "exploding", as described in the media, but more to do with at least two "dark bodies" going sub-sonic! In my efforts to acquire more infomation about meteorites, I found myself more and more getting into conversations with a coworker of my wife at JPL that had a meteorite collection. His name is Ron Baalke. Ron was a patient tutor. He kept suggesting that I join a meteorite discussion group called Meteoritecentral. It was about a year ago that I finally got on the "List". I should have taken Ron's advice sooner. What I've learned about meteors and meteorites this past year is exponentially more than any prior period of time. Although this Bolide*chaser may come to regret never finding where the "Bishop Bolide" has landed, I'll never regret joining the "meteorite-list". Bob Verish _________________________________________________________ DO YOU YAHOO!?
>It was four years ago yesterday, but the meteorite that "must have >landed" in the Eastern Sierran foothills near Bishop has yet to be >found. It was this fireball that help Bob catch meteorite fever, very similar to the way Nininger got hooked. >All four of us observed the fireball go down behind the San Gabriel >Mountains. >When it became clear to me that what I was tracking down was a bolide >that had fragmented upon termination, I started studying more into >meteorites. With several eye-witnesses giving evidence to some of >these fragments entering a phase of the trajectory known as "dark body >flight", I started to realize that the accounts of a double sonic boom >had less to do with the bolide "exploding", as described in the media, >but more to do with at least two "dark bodies" going sub-sonic! I should point out too that Bob has done some considerable follow up work in regards to this bolide. I've sent out inquiries about the fireball over the Internet, and received about 30 eye witness accounts, all which I've forwarded to Bob. The fireball was seen over large portions of California, several hundred miles apart. Bob took the observations, and triangulated the position of a possible fall near Bishop. He made a number of trips to Bishop, and found additional eye witnesses, including people who heard the sonic booms, saw the fireball split into two pieces, and saw the fireball fizzle out overhead - all of the classic signs of the fireball about to land on the Earth. There was no doubt that a meteorite had landed near Bishop. The probable impact area though turned out be in the wilderness, which unfortunately, had a large number of dark rocks scattered about, making the search for the meteorite very difficult. A few weeks after the fireball sighting, a couple of large rainstorms swept through California, which would further obscure any traces of the meteorite. If the meteorite is still there and has survived the elements, it probably has lost its fusion crust by now, and is probably well rusted. >Although this Bolide*chaser may come to regret never finding where the >"Bishop Bolide" has landed, I'll never regret joining the >"meteorite-list". Though the Bishop meteorite was never found, this peaked Bob's interest in meteorites enough that he has found a number of meteorites since then. Ron Baalke ---------- Archives located at: http://www.meteoritecentral.com/list_best.html For help, FAQ's and sub. info. visit: http://www.meteoritecentral.com/mailing_list.html ----------