In the late evening of Nov. 23, people from Key West to the Florida Panhandle observed a massive fireball streaking across the sky. Most of the people who observed the strange occurrence panicked, thinking that it may be a bright meteor or even an extraterrestrial ship landing on Earth.
The fireball was spotted mainly in Florida, but residents from Georgia and Alabama reported the event as well.
A Meteorological Occurrence
The American Meteorological Society as well as different police departments from the affected areas received dozens of reports from people who witnessed the bizarre phenomenon around 11 p.m. local time. The phenomenon was confirmed by dashboard cameras belonging to the North Point Police Department in West Florida.
As reported by Bill Cooke of Marshall Space Flight Center, the meteor began 46 miles above the Gulf of Mexico and 8 miles from Sarasota.
According to the reports, the object was most likely traveling from northwest into the sea of Anna Maria Island, near the coast of Manatee County, Florida. The same report cites that the fireball must have been the size of a baseball, moving with roughly 40,000 miles per hour.
The object was classified as a bolide, not a superbolide, and it produced no damage in the areas where it was seen. A number of approximately 500,000 fireballs pass around our planet every year, which makes the phenomenon not that uncommon.
However, since most of the fireballs are smaller and some occur during the daytime, many of them go unnoticed. This meteor vaporized into a fireball illumination due to the interaction of frozen water and carbon dioxide heating the object. If you're interested in observing as many of these phenomena as possible, try using a telescope.
Story Of A Meteor
Regardless of how common these occurrences are, people got scared and began writing on social media about their experiences. After the police department uploaded the video on their Facebook page, comments begun to flow.
"It looked like a flare last night. I was driving on I-75 north at about 11:20 and the thing came right above me and just disappeared slowly," said Victor Rath on the Facebook post of the North Port Police Department.
Another commenter thought that the phenomenon may have been something different.
"That is definitely what I saw the other night. At the time I wondered [i]f it were an electrical transformer or something," Donna Launonen wrote on the same Facebook post.
The video now has around 80,000 views, over 600 likes and more than 1,600 shares. The strange event sparked the interest of the city's residents as well as people worldwide.