Meteor Dazzles East Coast Night Skies

No, that was not a plane on fire. It was a meteor.

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Hopkins Automotive Group / AP

In this image taken from video provided by Tom Hopkins of Hopkins Automotive Group, a bright flash of light, top center, streaks across the early-evening sky in what experts say was almost certainly a meteor coming down on March 22, 2013 in Seaford, Del.

A meteor streaked through U.S. eastern skies Friday with more than 300 reported sighting it in 13 states, according to Reuters.

The American Meteor Society confirmed the meteor and cited reports from Canada down through North Carolina and even as far inland as Ohio at about 8 p.m. Described as more fiery than Venus and about the size of an exercise ball, the spectacle triggered an outpour of social media response late into Friday, CNN notes. Throughout the evening Twitter was flooded with tweets about sightings of the phenomenon.

(PHOTOS: Russia Meteor Explosion Shatters Windows, Injures Hundreds)

Bill Cooke of NASA’s Meteoroid Environmental Office told the Associated Press that the fireball appeared to be as bright as the full moon. “The thing is probably a yard across. We basically have [had] a boulder enter the atmosphere over the northeast.”

A fireball is a meteor that is larger than normal according to a statement from the American Meteor Society’s Robert Lunsford. It is rare for a person to witness one or two per lifetime. In this instance, residents along the eastern seaboard and in major metropolises like New York City and Washington, D.C., were lucky enough to spot one.

The sizable meteor may have produced meteorites, or smaller fragments that sometimes hit the Earth before burning out, but if so, they descended into the Atlantic Ocean, Cooke said to CNN.

More recently, a reported 10-ton meteor moving 33,000 mph exploded over Russian skies, injuring more than 1,000 people and  leaving the rest of the world a bit unnerved about the fast, fiery rocks. CNN adds that not all were thrilled with the sighting:


WATCH: Meteorites Crash in Russia