Lucky sky watchers across the eastern part of the United States, as well as a small part of western Japan, were treated to an amazing sight: at least two greenish fireballs — most likely meteors — were observed in the skies Monday night.
The first of the two fireballs was observed across 11 states, from Georgia to Pennsylvania, at around 6 P.M. Eastern time, according to Yahoo News. Police Sgt. Luke Thomas of Benwood, West Virginia captured the fireball on his dashcam.
NASA spokesperson Bill Cooke of the Meteoroid Environment Office confirmed that the West Virginia fireball was likely a meteor. The sky watchers at American Meteor Society believe that it was a meteor as well.
— AMSMETEORS (@amsmeteors) November 4, 2014
Just saw a huge meteor over Winston-Salem!
— Mark Royster (@mroy77) November 3, 2014
A second, slower-moving fireball was observed over Chicago, and was caught on camera by YouTube user Steve Sobel.
Because the Chicago fireball was moving so slowly, compared to the fast-moving streaks known to be produced by meteors, NASA speculates that this event may have been a piece of space junk.
“The Chicago event appears to be a slow mover; could be a piece of space junk. We’re checking into that as well.”
Although the idea may seem far-fetched, space junk falling into the atmosphere is a very real event. As of this post, exactly one human being has been confirmed to have been hit by falling space junk (it hit a woman on the shoulder, and she said it felt like someone had thrown an empty aluminum can at her). But last month, according to this Inquisitr report, a suspected piece of space junk came within a few feet of striking workers at a water treatment plant in New Jersey.
Also on Monday night, a camera at an airport in Fukuoka, Japan, caught a green fireball streaking across the sky, according to the BBC.
This particular greenish fireball was caught streaking across the sky at high speed, indicating that it was most likely a meteor.
Did you see the any of the meteors, space junk, or other fireballs that were observed around the world Monday night?
[Image courtesy of Yahoo News]