A large ball of fire lit up the sky Thursday, showing residents of southern Ontario and the eastern United States — with Windsor-Essex in the meteor’s flight path.
Glen O’Neill was in his car and stopped at Little White Church in Amherstburg, Ontario when he saw a bright ball of light flying overhead.
“It was bigger than a star or an airplane, so I thought, well, this is weird, and it was moving a little bit fast and all of a sudden I saw a tail that looked like flames,” O’Neill said. , who lives in Colchester, Ontario.
“I wish I had a camera meter to record it and prove it,” O’Neill said, “because I thought no one would believe me.”
According to Mike Hanke, director of operations for the American Meteorite Society (AMS), it was “a sporadic, sparse fireball.” It wasn’t part of a meteor shower, like the Geminid meteor shower that is expected to start on December 15th.
Hanke, creator of the online fireball reporting tool AMS, has so far reported 847 meteor sightings to the organization, which he says is a significant number of observations.
“We recorded [of sightings] The record was 2,000. You know, the previous record was 1,200. [sighting] They will probably hit 1,000 by the end of the day.
The views extend from North Carolina to northern Michigan. SMA has an interactive map showing your saved views.
Hanke said the main factor in the number of reported meteor sightings is the time of day it falls and the density of the area where it falls. He said that population density also affects the number of meteorites that are later found.
“There is a community of meteorite hunters,” Hanke said. These events usually drop thousands of meteorites. »
AMS estimates that Thursday’s meteorites — pieces of space rock that fell to Earth as its atmosphere burned up — likely fell somewhere near Friendsville, Maryland. , … probably.
“It’s a little more complicated than that,” he said, adding that the end of the meteorite’s path is in Friendsville, Maryland, but the meteors fall in a wide radius.
Hanke said more meteors are being reported and documented each year.
“We actually have a graph of the site’s cycle stats in the upper right corner, but you can see that every year, you know, we have more events than the year before,” Hanke said, adding that that doesn’t mean there are more meteors. Fly in the sky.
“It’s just that more people know about the system. More people on the Internet,” he said.
O’Neill said that discovering the fireball was something he hadn’t thought of before. He said he saw a shooting star while camping, but he had never seen anything like it, not very big, very big. And the sky was clear at night, so it was perfect.
“I thought it was a once-in-a-lifetime event, and tonight I’m going to buy a lottery ticket,” O’Neill said.