The fireball caused by the impact of 2008 TC3 has been confirmed. The NASA’s Near-Earth Object Project Office reports that the fireball was observed on October 7 at 02:45:45 UT. The energy released was estimated at 0.9 to 1.0 kilotons of TNT. They do not give the source of this information though they state that more information is forthcoming. My guess, is this sighting is from the US Department of Defense’s Defense Satellite Program (DSP) satellites. The DSP program consists of a constellation of missile early warning satellites which monitor most of the world for missile launches. These satellites are also very good at detecting bright fireballs. Hopefully more details will become available.
The NEO Project Office also reports that an infrasound station in the African nation of Kenya made a detection. Dr. Peter Brown of University of Western Ontario in Canada estimates the energy released at 1.1 to 2.1 kilotons of TNT. A third report comes from a pilot on a KLM flight over the nation of Chad who saw a flash at the time of the fireball. More info on this last two reports can be found at Spaceweather.com.
The fact that there are no videos of this fireball are disappointing but not surprising. The fireball occurred over northern Sudan which is sparsely populated and rather poor. Sudan is also not a country that you can just show up and drive around in. It would have been difficult to have traveled to the fireball site. It will be interesting to see if any meteorites are found on the ground from this fireball. Even with all of the difficulties of travel in Sudan, I’d be surprised if a few meteorite hunters don’t find their way to the predicted impact site.
[Exciting new news]
An image of the fireball taken from a European weather satellite has been posted by Jiri Borovicka of the Czech Academy of Sciences. The image can be found on the frontpage of Spaceweather.com. More info on the this sighting can be found at the webiste of the EUMETSAT.