The American Meteor Society (AMS) says that hundreds of witnesses have filed reports of a large, bright, long-lasting fireball – an exceptionally bright meteor – seen over the U.S. East (New England) on Sunday evening, January 12, 2014. The time was 5:20 p.m. EST (2220 UTC). According to Mike Hankey of the AMS:
Witnesses reported the brightness greater than the full moon.
The fireball was seen from primarily Connecticut, but witnesses from Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island also reported seeing the fireball.
From any one spot on Earth, it’s rare to see a meteor as bright as the moon. But meteors of this brightness are not uncommon, given the Earth as a whole. They typically result from chunks of space debris entering our atmosphere. In recent years, due to increasing interconnectivity between people, we hear about these meteors more often!
Bottom line: The U.S. East was treated to a large, bright fireball – as bright as the moon, according to reports – on Sunday evening, January 12, 2014.
Deborah Byrd created the EarthSky radio series in 1991 and founded EarthSky.org in 1994. Today, she serves as Editor-in-Chief of this website. She has won a galaxy of awards from the broadcasting and science communities, including having an asteroid named 3505 Byrd in her honor. A science communicator and educator since 1976, Byrd believes in science as a force for good in the world and a vital tool for the 21st century. "Being an EarthSky editor is like hosting a big global party for cool nature-lovers," she says.