Police officers patrolling for speeders and law breakers in the wee hours of the morning on Tuesday recorded more than they bargained for on their dashcam: they caught video of a spectacular meteor explosion over Portland, Maine. Sergeant Tim Farris was driving when the meteor streaked across the sky, and his fellow officer, riding shotgun, couldn’t keep his amazement to himself. Officer Graham Hults can be heard exclaiming as the midnight sky suddenly lit up.
As USA Today reports, the fireball meteor was caught on the officers’ dashcam video at around 12:50 a.m. PST on Tuesday. As it made its fiery, explosive descent through the early morning sky, it was seen not just in Maine but all over the east coast of the North America. According to the American Meteor Society, over 350 reports of the massive fireball meteor were reported from Quebec to New Jersey.
On the society’s website, visitors can see a image with an estimated map of the widely-witnessed meteor’s trajectory, and witnesses are encouraged to file their own reports of the event as well as share their photos.
As you can see in the video below, while the police dashcam video of the meteor went viral, it wasn’t the only video to be recorded of the fireball meteor’s explosion.
As you can see in the compilation video of the fireball meteor’s explosive demise, not only was the sight captured on the police dashcam but airport security cameras as well.
“Fireball” is a term for a meteor that is very bright and/or explosive, according to the American Meteor Society. While spectacular and sometimes even a bit frightening to observe, the society says that the Earth’s atmosphere is pummeled by thousands of such meteor strikes every single day. Most often, though, the meteors fall over areas that may be sparsely populated or completely uninhabited or during the day when they may not be visible.
The Portland Police Department’s awesome dashcam meteor video was initially published to the department’s Facebook page. Originally, the bright fireball’s explosion was identified as something less mundane and benign than a meteor.
“Let’s hope the visitors are friendly. They could just be some of Stephen King’s friends on their way to visit him.”
Stephen King is a native of the Portland, Maine, area. The iconic horror author has published several books that deal with the subject of UFO’s and extraterrestrials, including The Tommyknockers and Dreamcatcher.
In addition to the multiple videos that emerged in the aftermath of the meteor’s epic explosion, many still images were captured of the dazzling display.
— AMSMETEORS (@amsmeteors) May 17, 2016
Based on the trajectory of the meteor, the Maine Mineral and Gem Museum believes that the dashcam video indicates that the meteor likely fell to earth somewhere in northwestern Maine woods. According to Phys.org, the museum is offering a reward of $20,000 to anyone who recovers a piece of the meteor weighing 1 kilo (2.2. pounds) or more. It has been estimated that the fireball meteor caught on police dashcam video was roughly the size of a volleyball before it burned up and exploded in earth’s atmosphere.
Despite the Portland Police Department’s tongue-in-cheek reference to little green men, according to Phys.org, the meteor’s dashcam video demonstrate that what fell from the sky early Tuesday was “absolutely consistent” with a single meteor. The amount of video footage that was recorded of the event only further reinforces that what happened was a purely natural occurrence, albeit a spectacular one. Of course, as Derrick Pitts, the chief astronomer at Philadelphia’s Franklin Institute adds, even with all the video evidence in the world, scientists would still require a piece of the fireball meteor to conclude that it was what it appeared to be.
“[We] can’t be 100 percent certain of what it was, unless it actually fell to the ground and we could actually track the trajectory.”
Until the fireball meteor recorded in the police dashcam video is recovered, at least in part, UFO buffs and conspiracy theorists alike will be able to speculate on its real origins.
[Image via Vadim Sadovski/Shutterstock]