Home security cameras in the Denver area captured the moment a fireball meteor streaked across the sky early in the morning on Sunday.
The American Meteor Society received more than 40 reports of the meteor, which could be seen by those awake around 4:30 a.m.
Doug Robinson of Boulder said: ‘It was all black, and all of a sudden it lit up.
Robinson told KCNC-TV he initially thought the fireball was lightning.
More than 40 people reported seeing a fireball at the American Meteor Society early Sunday morning as it streaked across the Colorado sky.
This rare sighting, which has been determined to be a superbolide, only occurs every few years as it reaches a magnitude 100 times brighter than a full moon
“We didn’t know if it was something else, could it be space junk?” he added.
Sightings of the fireball were also seen in Wyoming and New Mexico with 12 other videos recorded in those areas.
Six of those reports told the organization that they also heard a boom.
Chris Peterson of the Cloudbait Observatory told KCNC the sound meant the meteor was unusually close to the ground.
“It’s unusual for such a large object and I’m guessing it was something on the order of a ton of rock,” he told the network.
Peterson also added that most of the debris from the fireball would have turned to dust, but tiny fragments may have fallen to the ground.
“Whether or not something is found remains to be seen,” he said.
Witnesses reported the sighting not only in Colorado, but also in parts of Wyoming and New Mexico.
This rare sighting, which only occurs every few years, was determined to be a superbolide by Peterson, which is said to reach a magnitude 100 times brighter than a full moon, according to The Coloradoan.
So it’s that kind of once-in-a-lifetime event. Something, an incredible little piece of nature that you should enjoy seeing,’ he added.
American Meteor Society fireball report coordinator Robert Lunsford said the fireball may have been part of the Southern Taurid meteor shower.
The South Taurids meteor shower is heaviest during the fall season between September and November, the time of year when the planet passes through the meteor stream, according to Earth Sky.
Doug Robinson, from Boulder, and his wife Kate captured the moment on their home security camera
FIREBALL METEOR: FRAGMENTS OF AN ASTEROID
Sometimes known as a shooting star, a fireball meteor is a rapidly moving space rock in Earth’s atmosphere.
According to NASA, if a meteor is able to survive this scorching journey and hit the ground, the rock on Earth becomes known as a meteorite.
Chunks of rock often come from asteroids that have broken up as a result of a collision or other event.
Some have been pieces of other planets or even the Moon.
A piece of rock from Mars that fell to Earth as a meteorite sits on the Perseverance rover to help calibrate its equipment.
By studying different types of meteorites, scientists can learn more about asteroids, planets, and other parts of our solar system.
The annual Gemunid meteor shower is expected to peak in Colorado between December 13-14 for those who missed the fireball.
“If people want to regroup, they’ll have another chance to make another wish,” Lunsford said.
The scientific organization also said that several thousand undetected fireballs pass through Earth’s atmosphere each day and travel at speeds between 25,000 and 160,000 miles per hour.
These sightings go undetected because they occur in daylight and across vast oceans and uninhabited areas as well as at night when no one sees them.
A large number of fireballs, however, decay before they reach the ground to cause significant damage.
Another fireball event was reported a week earlier along the North Carolina coast traveling at a speed of 32,000 miles per hour with 148 reports to the American Meteor Society of a handful of East Coast states such as Maryland, South Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia.
A recent map from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s Center for Near Earth Object Studies (CNEOS) compiled data from 1988 to 2021 on fireballs that were detected by government sensors.
The world map shows dots, of four different sizes and colors, which are proportional to the (kinetic) impact energy of each fireball, the total energy that the meteoroid brought into the atmosphere due to its speed.
Scientists use the kinetic energy given off by the fireball, sound waves, and energy at other wavelengths to determine its size even before it enters Earth’s atmosphere.
Using these calculations helped scientists determine the fireball meteor that fell on Chelyabinsk, Russia on February 15, 2013 was 65 feet in diameter, which is the largest shown on the map.
The world map shows dots, ranging in four different sizes and colors, which are proportional to the impact (kinetic) energy of each fireball, the total energy the meteoroid brought into the atmosphere due of his speed
This fireball exploded over the Ural Mountains, sending a shock wave that shattered windows, damaged buildings and injured 1,600 people.
The meteorite shattered into several pieces as it entered the atmosphere, scattering debris and creating a shock wave estimated to have the power of 20 Hiroshima atomic bombs.
The second largest group of fireballs shown on the map fell mainly around the Pacific Ocean and neighboring countries, such as Fiji and other islands surrounding Asia.
The United States has been affected by smaller meteorites, but not as much as other parts of the world.
Explained: The Difference Between An Asteroid, Meteorite, And Other Space Rocks
A asteroid is a large piece of rock left over from collisions or the early solar system. Most are located between Mars and Jupiter in the main belt.
A comet is a rock covered with ice, methane and other compounds. Their orbits take them much farther from the solar system.
A meteor is what astronomers call a flash of light in the atmosphere when debris burns.
These debris themselves are known as meteoroid. Most are so small that they vaporize into the atmosphere.
If one of these meteoroids arrives on Earth, it is called a meteorite.
Meteors, meteoroids and meteorites normally come from asteroids and comets.
For example, if the Earth passes through the tail of a comet, much of the debris burns up in the atmosphere, forming a meteor shower.