January 09, 2019
If you saw a giant ball of burning light fall toward Earth this morning along the East Coast, you're not alone. Multiple reports of a meteor have surfaced over the course of the day Wednesday, ranging north from New York through New Jersey, Pennsylvania and south to Virginia and North Carolina.
165+ reports so far about a #fireball seen over the East Coast this morning at 6:35am EST. More info: https://t.co/AMVzEl5yWY - #meteor seen from #Delaware #Maryland #NewJersey #NewYork #NorthCarolina #Pennsylvania #Virginia pic.twitter.com/BvhddlIRlO— AMSMETEORS (@amsmeteors) January 9, 2019
The best available video of the burning object was captured by a camera in West New York, New Jersey.
The non-profit American Meteor Society said most reports of the fireball were consistent with a timeframe between 6:35-6:45 a.m. on Wednesday morning. Other witnesses in eastern North Carolina and Virginia said they saw a red fireball with a "glowing white train" around 11:40 p.m. Tuesday night.
"Based on our first analysis, it looks like the event was a fireball," the AMS wrote in a blog post on the event. "A fireball is another term for a very bright meteor, generally brighter than magnitude -4, which is about the same magnitude of the planet Venus as seen in the morning or evening sky."
These fireball meteors can occur several thousand times per day in Earth's atmosphere, though most fall over the ocean or are obscured by daylight. It's a relatively common event to see a meteor disintegrate before reaching the the Earth's surface.
Several witnesses provided descriptions to the AMS, which were logged on an interactive map.
"It was very interesting and bright and I am sure I am not the only one who saw it," said Tracy S. of Bala Cynwyd. "Would love to know what it was."
"A GIANT WHITE BALL OF LIGHT WITH ONLY THE SLIGHTEST TAIL could be seen," added Trae S. of Feasterville-Trevose. "IT DISAPPEARED AS IT APPROACHED THE HORIZON LINE OF PHILADELPHIA."
"I’ve seen many meteor showers this was definitely falling to earth," said Marc E. of Cherry Hill.
Dozens of Twitter users also reported seeing the object along the East Coast.
As fascinating as it is, the AMS tracks these events all over the world. Here's one from the U.K. on Tuesday.
Fireball over UK on Jan 8 - 63 reports and 2 videos so far : https://t.co/RjDqe60fFG— AMSMETEORS (@amsmeteors) January 9, 2019
If you saw this event, please report it here: https://t.co/yol9LaprTM
[WARNING: STRONG LANGUAGE :)]#fireball @UKMeteorNetwork pic.twitter.com/K1a6Av1rtz
They're still happy for you, though.
"If you saw this one: congrats, it’s a nice way start the year!"