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Archive for August 26th, 2019

In September 1952, fans at an USD football game and some residents of southeast South Dakota saw an amazing light show in the sky. It was described in the Vermillion Plain Talk:

FIREBALL IN SKY FLOODS AREA WITH LIGHT ON SATURDAY NIGHT. Alert residents in the Vermillion area got an opportunity to see one of Nature’s more unusual displays – a spectacular ‘fireball’ – Saturday about 10 p.m. The flaming mass shot across the dark sky north of Vermillion, apparently headed northwest, exploded with such a burst of flame that even the spectators at the University football game noticed the light.”

William E. Ekman

William E. Ekman

William E. Ekman from the University of South Dakota Mathematics and Astronomy Department participated in the fireball investigation lead by C.C. Wiley from the University of Iowa. Ekman collected witnesses’ testimonies and searched for meteorites (pieces of the meteor that reach the ground) from an army helicopter.

One report written by C.C. Wiley after the investigation described the path of the meteor, but it does not mention meteorites. Does that mean none were found during their hunt?

Sources:

C.C. Wylie and George E. Collins. ”The path and orbit of the South Dakota detonating meteor of September 27, 1952.” In Proceedings of the Iowa Academy of Science volume 60, article 63, 1953. https://scholarworks.uni.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=3182&context=pias, accessed 7-19-2019.

“Fireball In Sky Floods Area With Light On Saturday Night,” Vermillion Plain Talk, volume LXVIII, number 12, October 2, 1952. Located in the Archives and Special Collections.

“Meteorite May Have Landed in Volin Area,” Vermillion Plain Talk, volume LXVIII, number 44, October 16, 1952. Located in the Archives and Special Collections.

“Scientists Study This Area for More Meteorite Evidence,” Vermillion Plain Talk, volume LXVIII, number 45, October 23, 1952. Located in the Archives and Special Collections.

“U Professor Joins Party of Searchers for Fallen Meteors,” The University of South Dakota Bulletin, Series LII, bulletin number 1, Alumni number 11, December 1952. Located in the Archives and Special Collections.

Most of these sources can be found in the Archives and Special Collections.

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