Thursday, January 11, 2018

The 1972 Great Daylight Fireball

The 1972 Great Daylight Fireball
Time once again for the 30-day blogging challenge that I'm doing in 30 weeks (approximately).

The next prompt is "draw anything." Drawing is one talent I do not have. So we'll go on to the next, "Describe any significant memories of your childhood."

I talked about a very early memory here.

I talked about a traumatic memory here. (Okay, it wasn't that traumatic.)

Here's an interesting memory. My older brother and sister and I (I am the youngest of three) used to "canal surf." Hey, it was Idaho, you found entertainment were you could. We took a piece of plywood and covered it with carpet. The wood was sawn so that one end was narrower than the other. To the narrow end a hole was drilled and a rope put through it. Two other holes were drilled in the narrow end and a rope looped through them so that a person standing on the board could hold the rope.

Then we'd go to a bridge over an irrigation canal. You tied the far end of the rope connected to the front of the board to the bridge and put the board in the water. Due to the current of the canal, the board would float on the surface, skimming it. You jump off the bridge and grab the board as the current carried you by. Stand up on the board and you're canal surfing. You could go side to side by shifting your weight or dive the board under the water by putting a foot on the front of the board. The challenge was to go deep but not so deep that you got swept of the board by the current. I could almost get to my knees.

Also, I had very bad eyesight and wore thick glasses. This made it difficult for me to see anything at distance (near-sighted).

So, on August 10, 1972 (I was 12 years old) we decided to go canal surfing. I was on the board and not wearing my glasses when I heard what sounded like a low-flying jet. I looked up to see a white contrail in the sky. And I thought it was a low-flying jet. Which I thought was cool and regretted not having my glasses on to see it. It must have been about 2:30 in the afternoon.

When I got out of the water, my brother and sister told me it wasn't a jet, but a fireball. I really regretted not having my glasses on then.

It turned out to be the 1972 Great Daylight Fireball. Here's a Wikipedia article about it. Here's video of it shot from Wyoming.

I didn't realize what it was until they talked about it in my astronomy class at the University of Washington in circa 1980. And I realized that's what I saw.

Do you have any significant childhood memories? Let me know in the comments below.

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