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Fireball spotted over West Coast Tuesday

123RF.com photo

A Southern Oregon resident was among 20 people across the western United States who reportedly caught seconds-long glimpses of a very bright meteor Tuesday evening.

Sightings of a fireball in the sky about 11:30 p.m. Tuesday were reported as far south as Yontville, California and as far north as Tacoma, Washington, according to an online database maintained by the American Meteor Society, but 17 of the 20 sightings were in Oregon.

One of the sightings Tuesday night — tracked by the nonprofit as event No. 5376-2021— was a woman on Duggan Road in Central Point who gave a vivid description of a fireball sighting.

She said she was watching a cat outside when she noticed the “intense” bright glow of the animal’s eyes, and looked up over her shoulder.

“This was blindingly bright,” her statement on the database said. “Thoroughly enjoyed the gift of seeing this!”

Her sighting lasted roughly three and a half seconds.

She described the center of the fireball as “about comparable to the size of a full moon when seen high in the sky,” and described the fireball as mostly white light except for red, blue and green lights around the edges.

Other sightings Tuesday night included a five-second viewing in Coos Bay, with the bulk of the reports in northern portions of the state, including Portland, Hillsboro and Canby.

According to the American Meteor Society, fireballs are large and bright meteors — at least as bright as the planet Venus in the morning or evening sky. Thousands of meteors of fireball magnitude enter the earth’s atmosphere every day, but most go unseen. Most of them are in uninhabited areas, or they enter the atmosphere during daylight hours.

Reach web editor Nick Morgan at 541-776-4471 or nmorgan@rosebudmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @MTCrimeBeat.