The sky was lit up over northeastern United States on Tuesday night as a meteor exploded in the atmosphere.
Meteor shower – A dazzling detonation
Hundreds of witnesses report seeing a huge fireball light up the night sky as two separate objects entered into the Earth’s atmosphere. The brilliant meteoric exhibition occurred at 12:50 a.m. EDT, or 0450 GMT, early Tuesday morning, and was widely visible from several states and in Canada.
The brilliant explosion was reported across a large region, including Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Vermont, along with sightings in the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Quebec, according to the American Meteor Society.
The fireball was captured on video by several eyewitnesses, including this fantastic footage captured by police car dashcams in Maine and New York. “There was a three to five-minute delay from the time I saw it to the boom I heard and felt, very loud and shook the home, unlike anything I have ever experienced before” said Craig C., an eyewitness from Canton, Maine.
A fireball is a term used to describe an intensely bright and vivid meteoric explosion. Thousands of these events occur in the Earth’s atmosphere every day, but usually in uninhabited areas or during the day where the flash may not otherwise be visible to the naked eye.
“Based on the brightness,” says Geoff Chester, spokesman for the U.S. Naval Observatory in Washington D.C., “the object was likely a space rock somewhere between the size of a toaster and a refrigerator when it entered the atmosphere.”
A potential payday
“As fireball observations go, this one was huge,” the Maine Mineral and Gem Museum said in a press release on Tuesday. “Based on hundreds of eyewitness accounts collated and analyzed by the American Meteor Society, it’s clear that the meteoroid entered Earth’s atmosphere over Maine and its terminal explosion occurred about 30 km west of Rangeley, Maine, in Franklin Country.”
The museum mentioned in the same press release that it has offered a $20,000 reward to first person to retrieve and deliver a confirmed piece of the meteorite weighing at least 2.2 pounds. Once confirmed as a piece of the meteorite, the museum plans to put it on display in its Meteorite Hall.