If you spent last night looking northeast from Phoenix, Arizona, then your peculiar personal habits gave you the opportunity to see a fireball from space explode in the atmosphere. At 4:00 a.m. central time, the sky was filled with an extremely bright flash of light. The loud boom that followed caused at least one amateur videographer to make the following trenchant observation: “holy fucking shit.” That’s how it goes with meteors.
The AP reports that Laurence Garvie, the curator of the Center for Meteorite Studies at Arizona State University deemed the bit of space debris to be a “random space rock,” which sounds both right and curiously unscientific. The good news is that the projectile just happened to intersect with the orbit of the Earth and does not represent a larger fireball trend. The AP reported that meteorite fragments were discovered in nearby town of Cibecue.
Hours after the break up of the meteor, wisps of its degradation were still visible in the sky.
Historically, the state of Arizona is no stranger to meteors. Northern Arizona is the home to Meteor Crater, the site of a meteorite strike that took place 50,000 years ago during the pleistocene epoch. (It is also the spot where an alien mothership picks up Jeff Bridges in Starman.) Nearby Yuma is also where the Tatooine scenes from Return of the Jedi were filmed. So, while it was a random space rock this time, next time it could be a fallen escape pod from a Star Destroyer.