The News Desk is a collection of news, notes and breaking items affecting the Fredericksburg community.
Local sightings among meteor reports along East Coast
The reported meteor that lit up the East Coast sky Friday night so far has generated more than 600 sightings reported to the American Meteor Society.
Some reported sightings have come from the Fredericksburg area, everywhere from King George and Caroline to Stafford and Spotsylvania.
“The witnesses range from along the Atlantic coast ranging from Maine to North Carolina. This object was also seen as far inland as Ohio,” reported Robert Lunsford with the meteor society.
Lunsoford notes in his online report that “fireballs occur every day over all parts of the Earth.” The society itself says that thousands of “meteors of fireball magnitude” enter the earth’s atmosphere every day.
But most meteors go unseen.
Friday’s fireball was seen by plenty of people. And plenty of them took to Twitter and Facebook to report what they saw.
Area residents posted sightings on Fredericksburg.com’s Facebook page.
“I saw it..it was amazing! I was over by battlefield elem,” said Steffany Schiel.
“I seen it. It looked like it was over Walgreens at Harrison Crossing. It looked as if it had sparkles [coming] from it like the little sparklers kids get on the 4th of July, with smoke and a trail of a super light green with a touch of yellow light behind it then it lit up again and disappeared,” Tammy Hop Hopson posted.
The meteor society has a “heat map” of witness sightings, which shows reports in the Fredericksburg area and as far south as North Carolina. But the reports really heat up in Washington, D.C., and north up the coast to Boston.
According to the Associated Press, Bill Cooke of NASA’s Meteoroid Environmental Office said the flash appears to be “a single meteor event.” He said it “looks to be a fireball that moved roughly toward the southeast, going on visual reports.”
“Judging from the brightness, we’re dealing with something as bright as the full moon,” Cooke said. “The thing is probably a yard across. We basically have (had) a boulder enter the atmosphere over the northeast.”