A fireball stunned hundreds of people in the Carolinas and other neighboring states. Witnesses describe the fireball to have a blue and green tail behind it.
In the early hours of Thursday, April 4, hundreds of people from the southeastern United States witnessed a fireball streaking across the sky. Many of the sightings occurred just before 7 a.m., and witnesses described the fireball to be slow and bright, with a blue and green tail.
According to the American Meteor Society, they have so far received nearly 800 reports of sightings above North and South Carolina. That said, while most of the fireball sightings were from the said states, they have also received reports from Florida Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Virginia, and Tennessee.
Based on the reports, the fireball was traveling from west to east, and ended its trajectory east of Ivanhoe, North Carolina. Furthermore, meteorologist Dave Samuhel states that it likely burned up possibly 50 miles above the Earth’s surface, so it was not a threat to air traffic.
According to experts, what hundreds of people saw is considered a fireball, which is actually a meteor that appears brighter than the planet Venus. The term fireball itself is used to describe meteors that are generally brighter than magnitude -4. While they can sometimes be seen in daylight, they have to have a brightness of magnitude -6 to be observed in a patch of sky that is away from the sun. If it is closer to the sun, the brightness magnitude has to be higher.
Evidently, several thousand meteors at fireball level enter the Earth’s atmosphere each day, but many of them occur during the day and in remote areas. As such, most of them go undetected and unseen.
Typically, seasoned meteor observers see one meteor with a brightness of magnitude -6 or better every 200 hours, and they can expect meteors with a brightness of magnitude -4 once every 20 hours.