June 3, 2004 Fireball Project

Jeremy B. Tatum

A spectacular fireball was reported over British Columbia, Washington, Oregon and Idaho early in the morning of 2004 June 3 PDT. In addition to eyewitness accounts, the event was recorded on video tape and on a number of seismographs scattered through the area, giving the possibility of determining the atmospheric trajectory, or the position of the terminal burst or even of an actual impact, by a number of different methods. Several groups and individuals in Canada, the United States and even Holland are currently working on analyzing this event.

There has, naturally, been an excited exchange of informal emails between the several investigators, but it seemed to the writer that it might be useful to organize a sort of "poster session conference" on the Web. The idea I have in mind is for each investigator to write a short "poster paper" and put it on this Web site, so that we can all see what each of us has been doing, what data we have had available, what techniques we have been using, and what conclusions we have managed to reach so far. These "poster papers" would be a bit more formal than the exchange of anecdotal and conversational emails that were speeding to and fro in the days immediately following the event, but need not be as polished as a definitive paper refereed and published in the professional literature. They might be the sort of thing that one typically sees at a conference "poster session", or hears as a five-minute contributed oral paper at a meeting.

I hope that when this Web page is first posted, it will already have a couple of "papers" on it - my own and one by Ed Majden. I cordially invite other groups and individuals who have been working on this particular event to write up similar papers - or papers in any style that they would prefer - and put them on this site. We shall all then have an idea of what has been done, and we can then take stock and see where we ought to go from there.

For example, is there enough convergence of opinion on where this object went to justify visiting some particular area, if not actually to search for meteorites on the ground, but perhaps at least to visit the area, find local witnesses, and ask what they saw or heard? Or again, it might well be that we each find that we have been using partial data sets (e.g. seismic records from British Columbia, or seismic records from Washington) and that we might be able to get a much better solution if we combine all data together.

So, then, you are invited to prepare a short paper and send it to this site. Sooner would be better than later! To submit a paper, the best way would be to prepare it as a PDF or DOC file and to send it to Tamara Hughes to be included.


To see an animation of the path of the fireball, click here.

On behalf of all the investigators, I would like to thank Tamara Hughes of the University of Victoria for setting up this Web site for us.