Did a Meteor Strike Dutchess County A Few Years Ago?
In late April, scientists tracked an asteroid twice the size of the Statue of Liberty as it made a "close" pass to Earth. By close, we're actually talking around 2 million miles away. However, by astronomical terms, that's practically right in our backyard. Asteroid 2008 AG33 zipped by the planet at over 23,000 MPH but was still far enough away not to rattle too many nerves.
But in 2029, a giant space rock some have called the "Doomsday" asteroid will pass just under 20,000 miles from the Earth, which is below the orbit of many of our satellites. Apophis will make a very close approach on April 13, 2029, and will be close enough to be visible to the naked eye. A very close call, that tens of millions in the Eastern and Southern hemispheres will get to witness firsthand.
And while neither asteroid is expected to strike Earth, we all know it has happened many times over billions of years in the planet's history. We all know what happened to the dinosaurs. Has it happened here in New York? Yes. Probably many times before humans were ever around. But what about recently?
Did a Small Asteroid Strike Poughkeepsie?
You may remember reports of the bright fireball that was seen all over the eastern part of the country in November 2020? Some outlets, such as the Gothamist, claim the space rock actually crashed somewhere in the area. Hundreds of reports poured in from witnesses all over the east coast at around 7:22 P.M. that evening. The American Meteor Society says the fireball's visible light trail ended somewhere over Poughkeepsie, according to the reports they received.
So, probably no.
Bright Lights and Fireballs
As of now, there is no actual evidence of asteroids striking here. That doesn't mean it hasn't happened, but there is no "smoking gun" to speak of. Chances are, the fireball simply disintegrated in mid-air. It actually happens a lot more than you may think. Wikipedia says an estimated 15,000 tons of space debris enter the planet's atmosphere every day. A huge majority never make it to the ground. Many fizzle out or explode in the upper atmosphere without anyone ever hearing about it. Scientists do say a meteor may have exploded high above New York state in late 2019, causing an eerie greenish light to be seen in the sky that night, according to the many reports in the Saratoga area.
An Actual Meteorite in the Hudson Valley
Once a meteor strikes the surface it officially becomes a meteorite. Has it happened in the Hudson Valley? More than likely, many times. But one particular cosmic incident from 1992 stands out. It would become one of the most historic meteorite events ever documented.
On October 9, 1992, a meteorite struck a parked 1980 Chevrolet Malibu in Peekskill. Yes, this really happened. You may have seen some of the footage on the news back then. While there were no smartphones in 1992, plenty of home video recorders captured the bright ball of green light, as it traveled in the night sky, across the eastern U.S. When it landed, the meteorite was about a foot across and weighed nearly 28 pounds. All that light came from an object that small? Imagine what some of the much bigger ones could do?
The Victim: A Person's Car
The car's owner was a 17-year-old girl, who was in her home at the time of impact. She described the noise as sounding like a car crash. When she went to investigate, she found the meteorite on her car, which she described as still warm and smelling of sulfur. Wikipedia says she later sold the vehicle to the wife of a meteorite collector, and the pieces of the rock have been put on display at many museums and collections around the world.