PITTSBURGH (KDKA/AP) – Did you see it?
Early on Wednesday morning, several social media users in Pittsburgh and up and down the East Coast say they saw a bright flash of light and a streak in the sky.
The flash of light occurred just before 6:30 a.m. A trucker driving along I-76 in Pennsylvania was able to capture video of the flash from their dashcam.
The American Meteor Society, a nonprofit group, said it received more than 200 reports of a bright fireball over eastern Ohio. Robert Lunsford, a society official, said the fireball was most likely a random meteor not associated with any known meteor shower.
It takes an object only the size of a softball to create a flash as bright as the full moon, Lunsford said. This object was probably a bit larger, Lunsford said, but more analysis would be needed to determine its size.
☄️I am seeing reports of a fireball that lit up the sky around 6:25 am. Lauren Borell was out walking her dog an snapped these photos with her phone. If you have any photos that you would like to share send them to Chime in at: https://t.co/7N4kouxkd9 pic.twitter.com/FYIkvojhMX
— Jeff Oechslein (@JeffWTOV9) September 30, 2020
KDKA spoke to a science writer who explained the fireball was most likely a meteor falling toward earth. While meteors aren’t rare, seeing one, especially one this bright, doesn’t happen often.
“We saw a really exceptional meteor, which is when a piece of debris from outer space, either rock or metal, hits the atmosphere,” said science writer Ralph Crewe.
Crewe says the speed of the meteor is what caused it to heat so quickly, and being able to see large fireballs like this one is rare.
“They actually happen pretty frequently but not usually in over-populated areas. Most of the earth is the ocean, so we’re lucky to get to see one like this,” he told KDKA’s Lisa Washington.
Getting reports of a brilliant shooting star around 6:25 am!
If confirmed, this meteor could have been a rare FIREBALL with a colorful burning blue or red tail.
Picture from The American Meteor Society of a Fireball. (Report HERE: https://t.co/Na1PaSNI6y)
Anyone see this? pic.twitter.com/u7syzy0INj
— Chris Vickers (@ChrisWTOL) September 30, 2020
The American Meteor society said preliminary reports show the fireball traveled from southeast to northwest and ended its flight somewhere over North Benton, Ohio — about 77 miles from Pittsburgh.
The National Weather Service in Pittsburgh said it was aware of the reports but had no information.
Officials at the University of Pittsburgh’s Allegheny Observatory did not immediately comment.
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