Early this morning, a gigantic fireball streaked across the sky over Portland, Maine, which triggered the predictable responses of “holy shit,” “what is happening,” and “hello yes there is a burning object in the sky moving rapidly is this a good time to repent?” Fortunately, the American Meteor Society is here to reassure everyone that things are fine, everything is fine, and that fireball meteors are usually harmless.
The AMS received more than 300 reports of the fireball, which is understandable when you consider that a gigantic burning object flew through the sky over a major metropolitan area. (The fireball looked even bigger than the huge explosion over the U.K. on St. Patrick’s day.)
Most of the sightings were over the Eastern seaboard, north of New York, and clustered along northern Massachusetts and southern Maine. The fireball shot through at just after midnight on Tuesday morning, but police officers in nearby communities got some pretty incredible dash-cam footage.
Fireballs often have a magnitude (how researchers measure brightness) greater than negative four, about as bright as Venus shines on a clear night (but much bigger). Safe to say when one blazes across the sky, it’s lit.
And here’s a compilation of videos from various sources:
And one more, which is absolutely my favorite, featuring a dazed sounding cop, presumably watching over a cup of Dunkin’ Donuts coffee while on graveyard shift, going “Oh my Gohhhhhd” at the fireball.