Early this morning, a police officer was on patrol in Portland, Maine, when he saw this…
Sgt. Tim Farris witnessed the fireball event around 12:30 am EDT, reports the Portland Press Herald:
Farris was parked in front of the Central Fire Station on Congress Street looking for speeders at the time, and his cruiser’s dashcam captured the fireball streaking across the sky behind Franklin Towers. The video was posted on the department’s Facebook page Tuesday.
Over in Cumberland, Officer Scott Hendee was on patrol when his dashcam recorded the sky lighting up as the fireball crossed the sky.
“Unfortunately, the fireball and large flame trail were just out of the camera’s frame,” the department wrote on its Facebook page. “It was the most impressive one we’ve ever seen!”
The American Meteor Society (AMS) shared the video on its website, and it generated so much traffic that the site crashed, reports the Herald.
Additional sightings have been reported:
The AMS has received 330 reports so far about a fireball event over Northeastern US on May 17th 2016 around 12:50am EDT (4:50 UT). The fireball was seen primarily from Maine but witnesses from Vermont, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Ontario (Canada) and Québec (Canada) also reported the event.
The AMS posted a compilation of multiple videos of the event:
In case you are wondering exactly what was going on in those videos, here’s an explanation from the Herald:
A meteor is the flash of light that can be seen in the night sky when a small chunk of interplanetary debris burns up as it passes through the atmosphere. The debris itself is called a meteroid.
Most meteors occur in the region of the atmosphere called the thermosphere. This “meteoric region” is between 50 to 75 miles in altitude. Most meteors enter the atmosphere at speeds ranging from 25,000 mph to 160,000 mph, according to the American Meteor Society.
A fireball – like the one spotted in Portland – is another term for a very bright meteor, generally with the same magnitude of the planet Venus in the morning or evening sky. Several thousand meteors of fireball magnitude occur in the Earth’s atmosphere each day, but the vast majority occur over oceans or uninhabited regions. Many are masked by daylight, according to the American Meteor Society.
Witnesses said it was an amazing experience:
Flash of light drew attention, large ball of fire that appeared to burn up just above treeline. Absolutely amazing!!
Jennifer M. – Concoert, NH
The giant ball of fire was (seamed) extremely close going down below the treed horizon. I waited a minute because I thought I’ll see fire erupting beyond the end of the lake but nothing…
Julian K – Ontario, Canada
There was a 3-5 min delay from the time I saw it to the boom I heard and felt , very loud and shook the home , unlike anything I have ever experienced before.
Craig C. – Canton, ME
The AMS is asking anyone who witnessed the event to fill out an “official fireball report” via their website.
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Lily Dane is a staff writer for The Daily Sheeple. Her goal is to help people to “Wake the Flock Up!”