CHARLOTTE, N.C. – For almost 500 people in the southeastern United States, getting up early Thursday was its own reward.
Some 495 people in eight states reported seeing a slow and bright fireball about 6:50 a.m. Most reports to the American Meteor Society came from North Carolina and South Carolina.
The group says it also received reports from Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Virginia.
Just before 7 a.m., dozens of people in the Charlotte area called WSOC and alerted us on social media that they, too, had seen what appeared to be a meteor light up the sky.
Ashley Metcalf, of Barnardsville, North Carolina, was able to catch the object on camera and sent the video to Channel 9’s sister station, WLOS.
Reports indicate the meteor traveled west to east, ending its flight east of Ivanhoe.
A week earlier, the AMS received over 260 reports from people in 14 states about a fireball above the Ashokan Reservoir in New York.
Meteors peak in April. They’re pieces of rock that vaporize when they enter the Earth’s atmosphere and turn into streaks of light.[embedded content](Fayetteville, N.C.)
Meteorologist John Ahrens’ spoke with Monroe resident Karl Helms who said he saw the meteor as he was walking to his car on his way to work.
“It was like ‘Oh my God what is this?’ I could see it was green and purple around the front of the flame,” Helms said.[embedded content](Denver, N.C.)
Helms said he had the quick instinct to grab his phone and record it on video. He said it lasted longer than he expected.
“I’ve never seen anything like it in my life, 33 years old, live here in North Carolina. Never seen anything like it,” Helms said.
This is the second large meteor sighting over the East Coast this week, with one reported on Sunday in Florida.[embedded content](Matthews, N.C.)
According to Popular Science, around 60 tons of space dust — coming from meteors, comets and the like — falls to Earth every day, but it’s generally incredibly small.
Professor Jack Howard from the Charlotte Astronomy Club said the fireball could have been moving anywhere from 10 to 40,000 mph.
Howard said sights like this are not necessarily rare. NASA estimates 48 tons of meteoritic material fall on Earth every day and can be dangerous.
“This was a large object, isolated. It could’ve been a chunk off an asteroid,” Howard said. “These things heat up in the atmosphere due to friction. That heat causes them to explode in the air and the shockwave from that explosion caused injuries in Russia.”
© 2019 Cox Media Group.