A fireball that blazed a trail over Phoenix on Tuesday night, Nov. 14, fueled conspiracy theories and jokes about aliens and UFOs. Arizona residents captured the bright light with their cameras, and many shared videos of the celestial event online.
Large Glowing Bulb Of Light
In one of the videos posted on Twitter, a large glowing bulb appeared in the top-right frame of the footage and then faded out in three seconds. A smaller light is seen in the lower portion of the frame off in the horizon.
Phenomena such as this get some people into thinking about extraterrestrial entities.
"I just saw a meteor or star or alien or something in the sky in Phoenix," @ShawnBTweetin posted on Twitter.
Arizonians in particular may be more suspicious about the strange light than usual since their state just celebrated the 20th anniversary of the Phoenix Lights.
In March 1997, several witnesses claimed to have witnessed a strange V-shaped collection of lights that moved in the sky. The local air force base claimed that the orbs were flares, but skeptics think that those were spacecraft of aliens.
Former Arizona governor Fife Symington even supported the idea that the lights were from an alien spacecraft.
"I'm a pilot and I know just about every machine that flies," Symington said in 2007. "It was bigger than anything that I've ever seen. It remains a great mystery. Other people saw it, responsible people."
Not An Evidence Of Aliens Or UFOs
Astronomers, however, said that the bright light spotted over Phoenix at 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday is not likely an evidence of aliens or UFOs from an extraterrestrial civilization.
Arizona State University's Center for Meteorite Studies curator Laurence Garvie said that the speed and everything about the event suggest it was almost certainly a meteor that lit up the sky and not a piece of space junk.
The American Meteor Society said that the meteor behind the phenomenon was a bolide, a type of fireball that explodes in bright terminal flash.
Astronomer Nick Moskovitz, from the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, said that the meteor was relatively small despite the immense glow. He said that the space rock was likely larger than a marble but smaller than a human. It was around the size of a football.
"This thing wasn't huge. I'm going to guess about 5 feet across. It broke up quite quickly," Garvie said.