A bright light was spotted zooming through the sky over the southeast US, forcing residents of Florida to gaze up to the sky. The phenomenon, which took place on May 14, was captured on camera, with footage showing a bright fireball lighting up the night’s sky.
More than 60 people reported the sighting to the International Meteor Organisation (IMO), with some claiming it was the most spectacular thing they had ever witnessed.
Josh F told the IMO: “It was honestly the most surreal moment of my life thus far. The bright flash surrounding me and then watching the blue ball shoot through the sky almost as if it was a firework descending down. I think it may have been the most magical moment of my life.”
Lincoln J added: “Been looking at the sky for 28 years, this was by far the most impressive thing I have seen.”
Asteroids and meteors produce a bright explosion of fire when they hit the atmosphere as it is the first time the space rock has ever met resistance.
Air seeps into the pores and cracks of the rock, pushing it apart and causing it to explode.
The IMO said: “Fireballs are meteors that appear brighter than normal.
“Due to the velocity at which they strike the Earth’s atmosphere, fragments larger than one millimetre have the capability to produce a bright flash as they streak through the heavens above.
“These bright meteors are what we call fireballs and they often strike fear and awe for those who witness them.”
While this meteor was small, the bright flash reiterates the need for eyes on the skies to watch out for potential asteroid collisions.
While the chances of a major asteroid hitting Earth are small – NASA believes there is a one in 300,000 chance every year a space rock which could cause regional damage will hit – the devastating prospect is not impossible.
However, there are some plans on the go which could help Earth against potential asteroid strikes.
NASA is currently studying Asteroid Bennu, where its OSIRIS-Rex spacecraft arrived in 2018.
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Part of the reason NASA is sending the OSIRIS-Rex spacecraft there is to gather more information about the space rock which is 1,640ft (500m) in length.
NASA fears the asteroid, which has the potential to wipe out a country on Earth, could hit our planet within the next 120 years, with the next close flyby in 2135.
The mission will give vital information on how to deflect asteroids from their collision course with Earth, but NASA reiterates while there is a small chance Earth could be impacted, “over millions of years, of all of the planets, Bennu is most likely to hit Venus”.
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