Lake Okeechobee, Florida (IP) - A large meteor travelled through the atmosphere at a 10 degree angle, hit the suface of Lake Okeechobee, and continued back into space.
The event was witnessed by a TV news crew from TheSpoof.com news that was in a boat on the lake when it happened. They filmed the event and it will be reported on World News tonight at 11:00 PM.
The crew was in the area filming the yearly migration of giant Cooter turtles. The Cooter turtles were once hunted to the brink of extinction until a deal made by the United Nation Council on Endangered Species bought the transferable turtle fishing permits from the dozen turtle fishermen who held the permits for 1 million dollars each.
The meteor was about 300 feet in diameter and as it approached it lit up the evening sky to such an extent that the news crew had to put on sunglasses to protect their eyes. Small pieces of the meteor were breaking off as it descended and in fact there were a paisely shaped series of flames and debris that were peeling back from the meteor's surface and this was caused by the atmospheric friction created around the periphery of the fast moving meteor. The pieces of the meteor that hit the water created small columns of steam that rose skyward from the surface of the lake.
The flames that surrounded the monster space rock were mostly a bright yellow-white color but it also gave off various colors in shades of blue, green, and pink, like those seen when copper and other metals are heated to a high temperature. Small bolts of static electricity danced and sizzled wildly very close to the meteor's surface.
A series of smaller meteors were travelling in tandem with the larger meteor giving the appearance not unlike that of a flock of birds travelling in single file. The sight was so spectacular that it brought tears to the eyes of everyone fortunate enough to behold the spectacle.
A deafening series of sonic booms was heard before and after the meteor glanced off of the water. The smell of hot iron filled the air. The meteors contact with the water created a 20 foot high wave that travelled forward in the same direction that the meteor was travelling. Luckily for the news crew that was in a direction away from their boat.
A pilot from Southern Airlines flight 174 reported seeing the meteor from the cockpit of his plane. Local police departments and control towers were inundated by numerous phone calls made by witnesses to the spectacular event. Many of them believed they had witnessed a plane crash.
A large smoky white trail quickly dissipated near the water's surface but higher up in the atmosphere the huge V-shaped trail of ionized gases remained for hours. In the upper parts of the atmosphere the vapor trail gradually shifted around and created a snake like series of twists and turns created by upper winds blowing from various directions. The trail took on an eerie glow after total darkness fell. For a while sunlight was reflected by the trail after total darkness had fallen below on the Earth's surface.
Ham radio operators on the ground reported that for hours they were able to communicate for long distances on VHF and UHF frequencies which are usually only effective along line of sight distances.
Hal Povenmire who works for NASA and helped develop the ablation technology that was used in the development of the heat shields used in the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo space programs is an expert on meteors. He will be in the area directing dive crews in the recovery of the meteor fragments which are estimated to be worth hundreds of millions of dollars. The event happened in the vicinity of Rita Island on the south side of the lake north of Clewiston.
The area has been blocked off by Florida Marine Patrol officers and Game and Fish officers as well. They are there to prevent the public from getting to the meteors before the scientists do.
Large groups of Florida residents with air boats and other water craft have been reported heading for the lake from all directions. Officials hope there is no civil disturbance created by folks anxious to get their hands on valuable fragments of the meteor. The governor is considering sending in National Guard troops into the area for crowd control purposes.