The meteor was seen by my father Mr. Norman Appleton who current lives in England. A complete decription of his observations of the meteor is found on the link below. We have determined that the event was reported by three observers and that it took place on November 1st 1944 between 3pm and 4pm local time. Please email me (Philip Appleton) on firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to contact the artist, or if you have new information to contribute the the story of this amazing event.
Based on his observations, we believe that the object was approximately 50-100 m in size and may have been transitioning from supersonic to sub-sonic at the time of observation. Evidence that it was subsonic comes from the fact that the trail does not show the usual bow-shock appearence of supersonic object (in this image), and that the sound he heard (which lasted several minutes after the meteor had crossed overhead and travelled almost to the horizon) was that of a powerful roaring sound like thunder. However, another image publish in a newspaper showed a V-shaped pattern indicating that it may have been supersonic for some of the time.
The city of
Bulawayo is one of
the larger cities in
modern Zimbabwe and the meteor seemed to be travelling south at a
constant altitude (taking it over South Africa). The event was
witnessed by the residents of Bulawayo (the event was originally
referred to as an example of "Ball Lightening" in a newpaper report the
next day) who heard a loud bang which rattled windows in the city
, likely the first time a sonic boom
had been documented before the first supersonic aircraft had
flown! The event was also documented by several newspaper
reports and in an RAF Met. Office "Weather" report.
This is Norman Appleton's own description of what he saw:Norman Appleton's DESCRIPTION OF EVENT
Richard Wade is conducting research at the
University of Pretoria in South Africa. He has been working on his Ph.
D and has been investigating oral tradition that may have been
associated with this event. He was unaware of the picture and my
fathers description of the meteor until recently. Work is therefore
unfolding which may shed further light on what happened after the
meteor passed overhead on that sunny day in 1944! Stay tuned!