A "mysterious fireball" was captured last Wednesday night in some parts of the U.S., which raised widespread speculations online. Experts explained the phenomena as a part of the Orionid meteor shower.
Typically, a meteor shower consists of faint and fleeting stars that streak past the night sky. Most shooting stars never last more than one second, which is why this recent event unnerved a lot of skywatchers.
Mysterious Fireball Stuns Americans: Video Clips Captured
Spotted locally at 12:45 AM EDT, residents in Belleville, Clinton Township, Fraser, Freeland, Holly, Howell, Pontiac, Romulus, Warren, White Lake Township and other nearby communities saw the blazing ball shooting across the sky. It was an extremely bright object, with a long flaming trail behind it.
The annual Orionid meteor shower was expected to reach its peak on Wednesday night, with viewers already reporting fireballs across the Midwest on Tuesday night. This footage was taken in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and shows a bright rock trailing through the night sky. pic.twitter.com/ZgsgLaZhvO— CBS News (@CBSNews) October 21, 2021
Due to its brilliant intensity, some residents speculated if it was a falling satellite instead of a shooting star. According to USA Today, the American Meteorological Society said it "was not a natural fireball (but) the re-entry of an unknown satellite or spent rocket body."
For reference, there were more than 80 reports on the fireball, with videos and photos taken from states like Michigan, Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Wisconsin, West Virginia and Ontario, Canada.
Experts Explain Orionid Meteor Shower
Putting aside the exciting talk of falling satellites, which escalated to the topic of aliens, experts confirmed the event was actually a "normal" fireball.
According to the researchers in CNEOS, the brightness of a shooting star depended on its size. A meteoroid is an asteroid or comet fragment orbiting around the Sun. When it enters the Earth's atmosphere, the meteoroids create a visible burning tail called meteors or shooting stars. A fireball is an unusually bright meteor that reaches visual magnitudes of -3 or brighter. Space objects about one meter in size generate this type of brightness.
The confirmed fireball was part of the celestial event called the Orionid meteor shower. According to Space, this is an annual event that peaks sometime mid-October. The event happens when Earth passes through a stream of dust called Comet 1P/Halley, or Halley's Comet. The encounter creates meteor showers visible anywhere around Earth.
Note, however, that its peak visibility happens at 2 AM local time. The meteor shower often remains active through late October until early November.
Comparing the facts, the fireball was recorded at Orionid peak hours. WDIV meteorologist Paul Gross explained that the fireball was a large piece of space rock that "burned up in the atmosphere," per Detroit Free Press.
Although experts call the event completely "normal," it definitely sparked a lot of talk and discussion on the internet.