Fireball Seen Across U.S. Western Skies

Cosmic fireball during nighttime

The Tuesday night sky was lit up by a bizarre fireball. The city of Phoenix managed to capture the images of it falling on an observation camera and posted it online. In the short video you can see a large bulb that suddenly appears at the top right of the screen. Three seconds later, it’s nowhere to be seen. In a lower part of the screen you can also see a smaller bulb of light, in the distance. The unusual event took place at about 8:30 p.m. MT.

It’s interesting that the American Meteor Society has received about 110 reports of fireballs in different states including Arizona, Utah and California, all on Tuesday night. Given the mysterious nature of those fireballs, should we worry about anything that might happen in the future? Well, astronomers are saying that given the object’s light and speed, it was almost certainly a meteor.

A meteor sweeping across the night sky

Actually, the meteor was of a specific type called “bolide”, a fireball that usually explode in a big flash. So, this is probably what people saw. Also, astronomers are saying that the meteor wasn’t very big at all, probably only 5 feet, because it quickly broke up.

Another astronomer, Nick Moskovitz, from the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, also thinks that the meteor was quite small. It may have had that huge glow that scared people, but it wasn’t bigger than a football. Surely, smaller than a person.

Moskovitz also explained that he believes that the meteor left debris behind, between Phoenix and Flagstaff, near Interstate 17.

It’s important to know that this recent meteor sighting doesn’t have anything to do with the annual Leonids meteor shower. That reached its peak on Friday night. Also, it seems that the meteors we see during these showers are very small, like a grain of sand. This one was bigger, but its occurrence was a coincidence.

Image source: wikimedia