NASA Confirms Giant Fireball Scorching Over The Mid-Atlantic Was A Meteor
NASA has confirmed that a bright fireball spotted over the mid-Atlantic states on September 3, 2023, was indeed a meteor. The streaking shooting star was seen by hundreds of eyewitnesses and captured on video by publicly accessible and personal cameras.
A few folks in the mid-Atlantic region of the United States were treated to a stellar shooting star just before 9:30pm EDT this past Sunday night. NASA reported that all the available data indicated that the meteor first became visible about 47 miles above Forest Hill, Maryland. It was moving northwest at an estimated 36,000mph and is said to have disintegrated at an altitude of 22 miles above Gnatstown, Pennsylvania.
In a post on Facebook, NASA Meteor Watch remarked, "An orbit calculated from the trajectory shows that the object producing the meteor was a small fragment (6 inches or so in diameter) of an asteroid, probably originating in the Asteroid Belt between Mars and Jupiter."
Justin Berk, a meteorologist in the Baltimore area of Maryland, posted a compilation of videos captured by eyewitnesses from central Maryland on his YouTube account. Berk pointed out that many were outside looking up at the night sky trying to catch a glimpse of a Starlink deployment when they were caught off guard by the blazing fireball.
The term "fireball" is used by NASA for exceptionally bright meteors that are incredible enough to be seen over a wide area. A meteoroid is defined by the space agency as an asteroid or comet fragment that orbits the Sun and has a size roughly between ten microns and a meter or so. Shooting stars are the visible paths of meteoroids that have entered the Earth's atmosphere.
Eyewitnesses who were able to capture the scintillating fireball event on video were spread out in Virginia, DC, Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York.