What is the brightest object in the night sky? If you were standing in Arizona earlier this week it wasn’t the moon. Yep, a brilliant fireball outshone the moon last week as it blazed across the sky above the southern United States.
According to Live Science, the meteor lit up the sky on the early hours of August 28. NASA, who was able to catch the meteor on video, said that it was one of the brightest fireballs in the last five years.
Bill Cooke, head of the Meteoroid Environment Office at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, said:
“Recorded by all six NASA cameras in the Southeast, this fireball was one of the brightest observed by the network in 5 years of operations… From Chickamauga, Georgia, the meteor was 20 times brighter than the full moon; shadows were cast on the ground as far south as Cartersville.”
The meteor may have outshone the moon but NASA notes that it wasn’t particularly large. The asteroid was only about 2 feet wide and weighed about 100 pounds.
The CS Monitor notes that more than 100 tons of material, mostly dust, bombards earth every day. Most of the material burns up in the atmosphere. If the object is large enough it creates a streak in the sky (shooting stars). Objects that burn brighter than Venus are considered fireballs.
Fireballs that outshine the moon. Well, they’re just considered awesome.