Every now and then, we see an earth-grazing meteor with exceptionally long ground track. Such was the case with a 1st-magnitude meteor over northern Florida, traveling NE to SW early on the morning of October 25.
Observed ground track was 225km before it disappeared over the Gulf of Mexico. Initial height was 115km, descending to 111km, after being tracked for 3.6 seconds by CAMS-FL sites. The object’s orbital parameters computed by UFOOrbit:
a = 7.61
e = 0.922
i = 123.6
UFOOrbit correlated this earth-grazing meteor with the Leonis Minorid meteor shower (IAU #22), which peaked during the night of October 24/25. As seen from north Florida, the shower’s radiant rose above the eastern horizon at 06:21 UT. Appearing just 8 minutes later at 06:29:49 UT, the tangential approach of the meteoroid through earth’s atmosphere accounted for the long trail.
Seven cameras of the CAMS-FL network captured this object as it streaked by: Gainesville (5002, 5003, 5007), College of Central Florida (5023, 5024), Ocklawaha (5043, 5044).
Fall and Winter typically bring good weather to north Florida, and we look forward to more excitement like this!