More than 40 people reported seeing a fireball Sunday morning, mainly over Colorado. A fireball was also seen in Wyoming and New Mexico, 12 people submitted videos to the American Meteor Society.
In one movie scene, captured with a balcony camera in Commerce City, Colorado, a fireball appears to be falling from the sky in a blue glow.
Another video, filmed by Josh Ellis in Evergreen, Colorado, was shared with CBS Denver. Ellis said the fireball was so bright that it was charging his solar lights.
“It was completely dark and suddenly it lit up as if it was a moonlit light with a bright light,” said Doug Robinson, who photographed the fireball over Boulder, Colorado.
Fireballs are bright meteors that have been rated brighter by the Venus Society, a non-profit organization that tracks meteorites.
About six people said they heard an explosion while watching a fireball in Colorado, a community worker told CBS Denver.
Chris Peterson, who works at the Cloudbait Observatory in the Rocky Mountains, central Colorado, said the fireball seen on Sunday was “very, very deep.”
“Ten or twenty miles may not seem very close to Earth, but when we think of typical burning stars, we see things burning 60 to 70 miles away,” Peterson told CBS Denver. The observatory also recorded the fireball.
In one area, Peterson said, such events only happen every few years.
“It’s unusual for such a large object,” said Peterson, a research associate at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. He said that 90 to 95 percent of meteorites typically turn into dust, and the pieces that hit Earth are about the size of a pebble and a baseball.
Peterson said there’s a good chance there’s at least a few pounds of material on Earth, according to CBS Denver.
Last week, NASA said that a fireball landed on the coast of North CarolinaIt was one of at least five fireballs seen over the United States that same night.
The American Meteorological Society received 148 fireball reports from Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina Fireball has the largest collection of eyewitness accounts, reported by more than 80 people. The fireball was captured in at least two different videos.
According to the organization, several thousand fireball-like meteors occur in the Earth’s atmosphere every day. However, the vast majority occur over oceans and uninhabited areas and during the day, making them difficult to see.
It is also difficult to spot fireballs that occur at night because few people go out to notice them.
The brighter the fireball, the rarer the event. According to the organization, fireballs are generally brighter than -4, which are roughly the same size as Venus in the morning or evening sky.
“Skilled observers can expect only one fireball with a strength of -6 or better per 200 hours of meteor observation, while a fireball with a strength of -4 can be expected every 20 hours or so,” the organization says.
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