On Sunday (Aug. 28) a fireball streaked throughout the sky over the northeastern United States, wonderful tons of of stargazers because the hurtling ball of flame briefly lit up the evening.
A minimum of 120 witnesses reported the fireball to the American Meteor Society (AMS), a nonprofit group that collects reviews of meteor sightings world wide. One witness, Eric Lofrgen of Palmyra, New York, fortuitously managed to report the fireball’s 5-second strategy along with his automobile dashcam. You’ll be able to watch the temporary blaze, courtesy of Lofgren and the AMS, within the video clip above.
Fireballs are a vivid class of meteor — a falling house rock that catches hearth whereas plunging via Earth’s ambiance. Meteors qualify as fireballs when their magnitude (or brightness) exceeds minus 4, which is identical magnitude because the planet Venus within the morning or night sky, in accordance with the AMS. For comparability, the complete moon has a magnitude of minus 12.6, whereas the sun has a magnitude of minus 26.7.
Fireballs are extraordinarily widespread, if simple to overlook. A number of thousand fireballs fall towards Earth every single day, in accordance with AMS, although an enormous majority of those fall over oceans and uninhabited areas, or are merely masked by the brightness of day. Most of those meteors deplete utterly within the ambiance. Sometimes, a fireball will need to have a larger magnitude than minus 8 to face an opportunity of crashing into Earth as a meteorite, AMS added. A brighter object usually denotes a bigger object, which is extra more likely to survive the journey via the ambiance.
It is arduous to say how massive and vivid the meteor that fell over the northeastern U.S. on Sunday was, because the fireball’s obvious magnitude adjustments based mostly on its distance from the observer. Witnesses estimated that the fireball had a magnitude wherever from zero to minus 26 — that means some observers noticed a ball that shone nearly as brightly because the solar.
Stories of the fireball got here in from dozens of cities throughout a number of states, together with New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Maine and the provinces of Ontario and Quebec in Canada. Most witnesses estimated that the fireball remained overhead for between 1.5 and three.5 seconds round 8:48 p.m. (ET).
Initially printed on Dwell Science.