Published: 2016-09-09 09:47:00
Updated: 2016-09-09 11:04:34
Posted September 9, 2016
Raleigh, N.C. — On Thursday around 6:03 p.m., hundreds saw a rare fireball in the skies nearly 50 miles over eastern North Carolina.
Observer reports to the American Meteor Society of the fireball, likely from a meteoroid entering the atmosphere over Virginia at speeds greater than 25,000 mph, were centered near Medoc Mountain State Park between Roanoke Rapids and Rocky Mount. Most saw the streak across the sky for only about 3.5 seconds.
The same bit of rock can have many labels depending on how it behaves as it falls through the atmosphere and whether it survives.
In order of increasing rarity:
The meteor over Chelyabinsk, Russia in 2013 produced a bolide along with a shockwave that damaged thousands of buildings, injuring nearly 1,500. Thursday's event is best described as a fireball because it was visible during daylight hours, nearly 90 minutes before sunset, and observer reports don't indicate a mid-air explosion.
This fireball streaking across the Carolina skies was a rare sight but not a rare event. Every day, about 100 tons of dust and rock enters Earth's atmosphere.
If you captured an image of the fireball, share it with WRAL. Mike Maze might select it as his amazing pic of the day.