The American Meteor Society (AMS) has reported at least 373 reports of another bright fireball – a very bright meteor, likely a small chunk of natural incoming space debris – over the U.S. last night (September 27, 2013). These reports followed a similar event over approximately the same area the day before (September 26). The AMS called the coincidence of two bright fireballs, or bright meteors, spotted over approximately the same region on consecutive days “surprising.” Witnesses from Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, North Carolina, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, Wisconsin and West Virginia reported a bright light moving across the night sky on September 27 at around 11:33 p.m. local time, according to the AMS.
Fireball might sound ominous, but it is just the word astronomers use to mean bright meteor. As seen from a whole-Earth perspective, fireballs are seen often. It’s unusual to have two appear on consecutive nights over the same region, however.
September 2013 has been a busy month for sightings of bright meteors, according to the AMS. Last night’s event marks the 14th fireball sighting with at least 25 witnesses in September, the most ever since the AMS started recording sightings online, they say.
The video above appears to show the September 27 fireball sighting event.
The image above shows 200 of 373 meteor reports to the AMS of the September 27 event, as of September 28 at 6:15 a.m. CDT (1115 UTC).
The image above is a “heat map” of sightings of the September 27 fireball. Compare to heat map showing September 26 fireball sightings. Very similar!
Bottom line: Another bright meteor has been seen over the U.S. This one was spotted on September 27, 2013 at around 11:33 p.m. local time. Witnesses from Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, North Carolina, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, Wisconsin and West Virginia saw it. It was the 14th fireball sighting in the U.S. for September, 2013.
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.