If you saw a bright object race across sky around 6:15 p.m. yesterday, you’re not alone.
Some took to the internet to post reports about a fireball passing overhead.
“Did anyone else see that white light fall from the sky about 6:15 tonight by Toms River?” inquired JSHN contributor Wyatt Robert shortly after the spotting.
A fireball is another term for a very bright meteor, according to the American Meteor Society (AMS).
According to eyewitness reports on the AMS website from southeast Canada down to Virginia, the fireball passed above New Jersey from north to south.
A report filed in Cape May provides a detailed description of the event.
“Directly behind bright bluish white ‘head’ was a long yellow ‘tail’ followed by a straight smoke trail. I’m not sure of the altitude but it appeared lower than where commercial airlines would normally fly,” writes John P. on the AMS website.
Mike Grossman says he was in his airplane about 2,000 feet above the George Washington Bridge, spanning over the Hudson River between New Jersey and New York City, when he spotted the fireball.
“I told ATC (air traffic control) what I saw, and they thought I was crazy,” he says. (You can listen to his communications with ATC beginning at 16:20 here.)
Alex Salvador captured an image and the above video of the fireball on his dash-cam in Northern Virginia, tweeting that “this looks like something burning up, falling down around the DC area.”
AMS says “several thousand” fireballs occur each day, but they are rarely seen.
“The vast majority of these, however, occur over the oceans and uninhabited regions, and a good many are masked by daylight. Those that occur at night also stand little chance of being detected due to the relatively low numbers of persons out to notice them,” a fireball FAQ from AMS notes.
Read more about fireballs here.