Bright green ‘fireball’ lights up the sky over the East Coast

Witnesses across the Northeast and in Ontario and Quebec spotted the meteor (Image credit: AMS)A bright-green fireball lit up the sky over the Northeast United States last night, and was reportedly seen by witnesses in at least a dozen states, as well as Ontario and Quebec.

This meteor entered the Earth's atmosphere at around 8:00 p.m. EDT on Friday, streaking from eastern Pennsylvania across northern New Jersey, apparently breaking up over Staten Island before being lost from sight.

"The witnesses range from along the Atlantic Coast ranging from Maine to North Carolina," Robert Lunsford, the American Meteor Society's fireball coordinator, wrote in a report on the AMS website. "This object was also seen as far inland as Ohio."

Some reports mention that the fireball was seen by people as far away as Florida.

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The meteor didn't leave much of a trail behind it, but it was certainly noticeable as it briefly became the brightest object in the night sky.

It is estimated that the object that caused the fireball was fairly small, perhaps the size of a softball, or perhaps as large as a basketball. If any fragments of the space rock reached the surface, based on the speed and trajectory, they likely ended up in the Atlantic Ocean.

This map plots the apparent trajectory of the fireball, based on eyewitness reports. (Image credit: AMS)

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For anyone worried that the 'increased' number of meteor and fireball sightings may be a signal that we're in for some sort of big collision event in the near future, don't worry too much. These events happen every day. It's estimated that Earth sweeps up anywhere from 37,000 to 78,000 tons of material from our orbit every year. Most of that is in the form of space dust, but also includes between 18,000 to 84,000 objects larger than 10 grams.

The only unusual part about these recent events is that more people are seeing them.

If you spotted this fireball, you can report it to the American Meteor Society and refer to #667 for 2013.

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