A fast, bright burst of what were probably softball-size meteors caught the attention of our Canadian neighbors earlier this week, before likely arcing down to land in Lake Huron.
While it wasn’t seen by too many sky-watchers on the U.S. side of Lake Huron, observatories in Canada, including Western University in London, Ontario, captured an image of the fireball last Tuesday night. It likely was a collection of small meteors grouped together, researchers say, according to CTV News in Canada.,
Spotters say the fireballs looked “as bright as the moon” as they whizzed across the sky.
In a Reddit discussion titled “orange fireball in night sky,” a handful of people talked about seeing the fireball overhead.
“Anyone see this incredible sight around 9:10 pm in the sky north of London? An orange fireball streaming across the sky,” one person wrote.
“Yes!!! Saw it driving home a few minutes ago. I’ve never seen anything like it before!,” another person posted.
Others who saw it chimed in:
“Yes! Omg my husband and I saw this. We were near Masonville mall! It was so bright. I’ve never seen anything like that. With I had a dash cam to capture it.”
“Was sitting at Carey’s and I saw it for a split second. Buddies thought I was nuts. Was cool though.”
“Yeah we saw it on a walk last night. It was around 9. Wonderland and Oxford area. It was tracking north fairly slowly. Saw the white ball, orange tail, and even saw some bits breaking off of it.”
Peter Brown, a professor in Western University’s physics and astronomy department, tweeted a series of photos of the spectacle. He dubbed it the Kintail fireball, for the spot near the Canadian shoreline of Lake Huron where it was believed to have crossed over before going into the water. On a map, Kintail is directly across the lake from Michigan’s Thumb.
“Kintail fireball orbit from last night place origins firmly from the asteroid belt. The initial mass was somewhere between a few to ten kilograms – softball sized. Not quite as bright as the full moon,” Brown posted on Twitter.
Fireballs are born when particles of meteors hit the Earth’s atmosphere and burn their way across the sky.
There were some reports of this particular fireball from U.S. sky watchers. These came from people in Port Huron, Flint and St. Clair Shores in Michigan, and other spots in Ohio and New York, as reported to the American Meteor Society.