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More than 700 reports of fireball sightings flooded the American Meteor Society from people who allegedly saw this mysterious celestial phenomenon over the Eastern Great Lakes region Tuesday.
According to a report from the AMS, the fireball sightings were observed across the states of New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Michigan, Maryland, the District, and Virginia, among others.
Fireball In The US, Canada
But the AMS noted that the fireball sightings were observed primarily in Ontario, Canada. Police and fire stations in Toronto even received reports of plane crashing, but it was later confirmed that it was just fireballs.
With the number of reports received by the AMS in relation to alleged fireball sightings, it ranked as one of the ‘Top 10 Events of the Year’. But Tom Hankey, an operations manager at the AMS, has provided a rational explanation for the occurrence, the Washington Post reported.
Hankey said one possible explanation why hundreds of people reported exactly the same observation is the fact that it happened around the time when most people are still out. Hankey particularly noted that the majority of the reports on fireball sightings happened at around 10:30 p.m.
What Science Says
“What struck me is that people from Canada to Southern Maryland saw it. That means it was pretty bright. To have that echoing sound means it has to get pretty close to the surface. It penetrated the Earth’s atmosphere deep enough to create a sonic boom,” Hankey was quoted as saying by the Washington Post.
Hankey added that the fireball sightings in many parts of the Americas were probably just asteroid or fragments of a comet that ignites as it enters the Earth’s atmosphere.
So far, there have been no reports of fireball-related injuries during any of the sightings from the AMS.