Incredible video footage shows a fiery meteor flaming out over North Carolina.
NASA has confirmed that at least five “fireball” meteors were seen in different parts of the United States on Friday, but the one that caught the most people’s eye was over the Tar Heel State, where more than 80 stargazers spotted the flaming space rock at about 7:40pm.
“An analysis of these accounts shows that the meteor skimmed the coast of North Carolina, becoming visible 48 miles above the ocean off Camp Lejeune, moving northeast at 32,000 miles per hour,” NASA Meteor Watch said. “It disintegrated 28 miles above Morehead City, after traveling 26 miles through Earth’s upper atmosphere.”
One black-and-white video of the event, apparently taken from a resident’s porch, clearly shows a bright meteor exploding into flames as it shoots downward toward the horizon.
A colour video, taken from a driver’s dashcam, shows the same fireball from a different angle.
According to the American Meteor Society, 161 people reported seeing a fireball on Friday night in five different states: North Carolina, Maryland, South Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia.
Several spoke up in the comments below NASA’s Facebook post to share what they saw.
“I saw it!” one stargazer wrote. “I live 45 minutes northwest of RDU Airport, and wondered if a plane was exploding! It was just a bit over the treeline and moved in a northerly direction, and burned out before reaching the treeline.”
“We saw this one streak across the sky from the beach on Pawleys Island, SC Friday evening,” another recalled. “It was amazing. We saw it break up as well. We were sure it was going to hit the water.”
As the AMS puts it, a fireball is “another term for a very bright meteor”, brighter than the planet Venus typically appears in the night sky.
Several thousand fireball meteors enter the earth’s atmosphere every day, the AMS says, but most of them burn up over oceans or other uninhabited areas, often during the day, when they’re harder to see.
The AMS urges anyone who witnesses a fireball to call in what they saw.
“If you happen to see one of these memorable events, we would ask that you report it to the American Meteor Society, remembering as many details as possible,” the organisation says. “This will include things such as brightness, length across the sky, color, and duration.”
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