Florida fireballs have joined the reports of a California fireball last week, along with the massive Russian meteor event in directing the internet’s attention to the scary, awesome and unpredictable skies.
The Florida fireballs capped off a week of organic interest in astronomy among lay people, where even the most scientifically disinterested among us were, on occasion, forced to gaze skyward — and in some cases avoid something that was coming right toward them.
Reports of the Florida fireballs prompted some 27 calls the evening they appeared to The American Meteor Society, as many wondered about the sky show to which they were being unexpectedly treated during the event.
Essentially, the AMS’ Mike Hankey explains, the Florida fireballs in and of themselves are not an astronomical rarity — but being lucky enough to spy one? That is.
“These fireballs are common … It’s rare for any one person to see one more than once or twice in their lifetime. But on any given night, it might happen somewhere in the globe a few times in a day.”
Thomas Webber, director of the Museum of Science and History’s Bryan-Gooding Planetarium, told Jacksonville.com that the Florida fireballs were not large ones, but still interest was generated:
“This one wasn’t grain-of-sand size, which what most of them are … When we get something a little bigger, that maybe has a silicate coating that ablates off as it travels though the atmosphere and takes some of the heat with it, they can appear much brighter and last a lot longer.”
Webber admits that events like the Florida fireballs coupled with the Russian meteor and the California sightings can frighten some people, despite the lack of increase in such activity in actuality:
“There’s an awareness and there might be a little trepidation now … People are a little on edge. When something is on our mind, we tend to see it more.”
Below, a clip of the Florida fireballs in action.