September 30, 2022

On This Day In Space: Aug. 10, 1972: ‘Great daylight fireball’ zooms over North America

On This Day In Space: Aug. 10, 1972: ‘Great daylight fireball’ zooms over North America
On This Day In Space: Aug. 10, 1972: ‘Great daylight fireball’ zooms over North AmericaOn This Day In Space: Aug. 10, 1972: ‘Great daylight fireball’ zooms over North America

On Aug. 10, 1972, an Earth-grazing fireball burst through the sky over North America. 

It didn’t hit the ground, but instead it passed straight through the sky. 

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The fireball entered the atmosphere somewhere over Utah and passed northwards, leaving the atmosphere over Alberta, Canada about 100 seconds later.

Analysis of its trajectory showed the object was about 10 to 45 feet in diameter, depending on whether it was an icy comet or a denser, rocky asteroid.

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Hanneke Weitering

Hanneke Weitering is an editor at Space.com with 10 years of experience in science journalism. She has previously written for Scholastic Classroom Magazines, MedPage Today and The Joint Institute for Computational Sciences at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. After studying physics at the University of Tennessee in her hometown of Knoxville, she earned her graduate degree in Science, Health and Environmental Reporting (SHERP) from New York University. Hanneke joined the Space.com team in 2016 as a staff writer and producer, covering topics including spaceflight and astronomy. She currently lives in Seattle, home of the Space Needle, with her cat and two snakes. In her spare time, Hanneke enjoys exploring the Rocky Mountains, basking in nature and looking for dark skies to gaze at the cosmos.