This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Rodger Fry had just picked up his morning newspaper, when he looked up at the constellation Orion and saw something most unexpected.
At about 4:32 a.m., the president of the Salt Lake Astronomical Society saw a green fireball soaring through the Thursday morning sky. Several others Fry talked to later saw the same thing.
"There was no sonic boom but it was quite large," said Fry, who lives near 5900 S. 800 West in Murray. "It looked like [the meteor] was … a little smaller than the sun."
That silence tells experts like Fry that the meteor that lit up Utah's skies was likely far, far away from us.
Patrick Wiggins, the NASA/JPL solar system ambassador to Utah, hasn't spoken to anyone who heard any sonic boom associated with the meteor.
"That tells me a big thing," Wiggins said. He pointed out that several years ago, lots of people heard a meteor that came down over Dugway Proving Ground. "A big meteor will make a lot of noise."
As an extreme example, Wiggins pointed out how the large Chelyabinsk meteor that came down over Russia last year was so loud that it shattered hundreds of windows.
Wiggins said he was awake when it came down, but unfortunately did not see it for himself.
Specifically, the meteor was a bolide, Wiggins said: "Basically, a very bright meteor that breaks up at the end of its flight."
Its changing color was due to the rock cooling down as it passed through our atmosphere. Contrary to what people might think, small meteors like that are cool to the touch once they hit the ground, Wiggins said.
Fry figures it would landed somewhere in southeastern Utah, or even Colorado.