by Elizabeth Gamillo/Smithsonianmag.com
On late Monday night, Floridian skies were ignited by a massive fireball with a long, sparkling tail dashing across the sky, reports Jaclyn Diaz for NPR. The sight stunned residents and evoked various calls to the National Weather Service and over 200 reports to the American Meteor Society, reports Kimberly Miller for the Palm Beach Post. Many of the residents and some local news teams also captured the experience on dashcams, cell phones, or security cameras and later shared the footage to social media.
While lasting only seconds, the captured footage shows the gleaming fireball streak across the sky, followed by an explosive flash as the meteor disintegrated and ended its trek along Earth’s atmosphere. By definition, a fireball is a meteor that is brighter than the planet Venus in the morning or evening sky. Several thousand fireballs fall to Earth every day. Most go unnoticed because they tend to swoop over the ocean or uninhabited locations, and other instances happen during the day when celestial phenomena can’t be seen, explains the American Meteor Society.