Eyewitnesses from different parts of the US reported seeing a bright fireball flying across the night sky earlier this week. Based on the description of the object, it was most likely caused by an asteroid that hit Earth and burned up in the atmosphere.
Reports regarding the latest fireball incident in the US were filed through the American Meteor Society's website. According to the eyewitnesses, they spotted the cosmic object on Mach 25 at around 10:40 pm EDT.
Witnessing A Fireball Event
As noted in the reports, the recent fireball event was spotted by residents from different states in the US such as Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and New York. Many of them noted that the fireball appeared brightly in the sky. A resident named Lee R. from Langhorne, Pennsylvania, stated that the fireball appeared to have changed colors. Unfortunately, since it passed through clouds, he did not see the other colors of the cosmic object.
An eyewitness from Pennsylvania named Dan D reported that he saw how the fireball changed colors. He believed this occurred when the object entered Earth's atmosphere. "I've seen shooting stars and this was definitely not the same," he stated in his report. "It looked like one at first, but then it popped colors, mainly blue when it seemed to me to have entered the atmosphere (I have no experience here so cannot say, but it seemed to have hit some threshold which caused an illumination of color) and it was traveling away from me, north I believe and it just quickly faded away."
Categorizing Fireball Events
According to the International Meteor Organization (IMO), fireball events occur when an asteroid hits Earth, which then turns into a meteor. Due to the size and impact velocity of the cosmic object, it burns up in Earth's atmosphere and turns into a bright fireball.
The organization noted that asteroids or meters with a diameter larger than one millimeter are capable of causing fireballs. This piece of information coincides with the size of the object recently spotted by residents in the US According to an eyewitness, the object appeared to be as big as a softball.
"As the size of these objects approach a millimeter, they begin to produce enough light to be seen upon entry to the upper atmosphere as ordinary meteors," the IMO stated. "Due to the velocity at which they strike the Earth's atmosphere, fragments larger than 1 millimeter have the capability to produce a bright flash as they streak through the heavens above."