Flash in East Coast sky has social media buzzing - FOX Carolina 21

Flash in East Coast sky has social media buzzing

Posted: Updated:

Social media sites were buzzing Friday night with reports of a brief but bright flash of light that streaked across the sky along the East Coast.

Bill Cooke of NASA's Meteoroid Environmental Office said the flash appears to be "a single meteor event." He said it "looks to be a fireball that moved roughly toward the southeast, going on visual reports."

"Judging from the brightness, we're dealing with something as bright as the full moon," Cooke said. "The thing is probably a yard across. We basically have (had) a boulder enter the atmosphere over the northeast."

He noted that the meteor was widely seen, with more than 350 reports on the website of the American Meteor Society alone.

"If you have something this bright carry over that heavily populated area, a lot of people are going to see it," he said. "It occurred around 8 tonight ,there were a lot of people out, and you've got all those big cities out there."

Derrick Pitts, chief astronomer at Philadelphia's Franklin Institute, agreed that the sightings had all the hallmarks of a "fireball." These include lasting 7-10 seconds, being bright and colorful, and seeming to cross much of the sky with a long stream behind it.

He said what people likely saw was one meteor - or "space rock" - that may have been the size of a softball or volleyball and that fell fairly far down into the Earth's atmosphere.

He likened it to a stone skipping across the water - getting "a nice long burn out of it."

Robert Lunsford of the American Meteor Society told USA Today "it basically looked like a super bright shooting star."

The newspaper reports that the sky flash was spotted as far south as Florida and as far north as New England.

Pitts said meteors of varying sizes fall from the sky all the time, but that this one caught more eyes because it happened on a Friday evening - and because Twitter has provided a way for people to share information on sightings.

He said experts "can't be 100 percent certain of what it was, unless it actually fell to the ground and we could actually track the trajectory." But he said the descriptions by so many people are "absolutely consistent" with those of a meteor.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Two men killed in Spartanburg Co. crash

    Two men killed in Spartanburg Co. crash

    Monday, April 21 2014 6:33 AM EDT2014-04-21 10:33:49 GMT
    A Spartanburg man was killed after crashing his car on the road he lived along early Sunday morning, according to the Spartanburg County Coroner's office. Coroner Rusty Clevenger said the single vehicleMore >
    A Spartanburg man was killed after crashing his car on the road he lived along on early Sunday morning, according to the Spartanburg County Coroner's Office.More >
  • Moped driver dies from injuries after crashing into oncoming vehicle

    Moped driver dies from injuries after crashing into oncoming vehicle

    Sunday, April 20 2014 9:03 PM EDT2014-04-21 01:03:52 GMT
    A Boiling Springs woman who drove her moped into oncoming traffic on Wade Hampton Boulevard earlier this month, passed away from her injuries Sunday, according to the Greenville County Coroner.More >
    A Boiling Springs woman who drove her moped into oncoming traffic on Wade Hampton Boulevard earlier this month passed away from her injuries on Sunday, according to the Greenville County coroner.More >
  • update

    11-year-old killed in Pendleton crash

    11-year-old killed in Pendleton crash

    Sunday, April 20 2014 8:00 AM EDT2014-04-20 12:00:21 GMT
    Troopers with the SC Highway Patrol and the Anderson County Coroner's Office are investigating a deadly car crash in the Pendleton area. Troopers said the crash happened on Cherry Street Extension nearMore >
    Troopers with the SC Highway Patrol and the Anderson County Coroner's Office are investigating a deadly car crash in the Pendleton area.
    More >
Powered by WorldNow
Fox Carolina
Powered by WorldNow CNN
All content © 2014, WHNS; Greenville, SC. (A Meredith Corporation Station) and WorldNow. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.