Subject:          Fire caused by meteorite in Netherlands?
To:      (Cambridge Conference)
Date sent:        Tue, 26 Aug 1997 00:10:26 -0500 (CDT)

I quote the following comments by Arie Nouwen which appeared in a message in
alt.sci.planetary on August 7, 1997.  I haven't been able to find any
further information about this purported impact event.  It sounds to me like
a possible observation of a fireball and an unrelated fire.

    "Today I saw in an article in the local newspaper
     'De Dordtenaar' (region of Dordrecht in The Netherlands) a news report
     about a meteorite that would have caused a fire in a municipal shipyard
     in the city of Gorinchem, also in the Netherlands. This happened on
     august 5th 1997.  According to the reporter of the article, Anja
     Broeken, a police officer saw a very bright, spherical light. He was
     driving in his car on the A15, a national roadway. The light was as big
     as a football and it moved in a straight line. Other citizens also saw
     'very bright objects crossing the sky'. At 22h27m MEZT (Middle European
     Summer Time) the fire brigade of Gorinchem received a message that
     there was a fire at the local shipyard.  When the fire brigade arrived
     a pile of natural waste, 5 meters high, was burning.  An information
     service officer of the police, G.Herwig, declared in the article that
     there is another explanation for the fire.  He says that last week
     public workers had burned wood that was infected with the elm disease.
     The afterburning of this can last for several days and perhaps sparks
     of the wood had caused the fire."

The web page of the Dutch Meteor Society at

notes that bright meteors of magnitude -3 and -5 were observed in
The Netherlands.  In particular, at 23:23:30 UT (which I believe would
correspond to 22:23:30 MEZT -- correction welcome!) an observer reported a
mag. -3 Perseid in Pegasus, and at 23:28:20 a Capricornid in Aquila with
flares at mag -5.

Phil "Pib" Burns
Northwestern University, Evanston, IL.  USA

CCCMENU CCC for 1997