Many reports have been coming in of people in the D.C. region seeing a bright flash in the sky last night. It happened just before 11 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time. Most reports on the American Meteor Society website are described as a bright white or yellow flash that lasted around one second. Here is a map of all of the reports:
- (Meteor Sightings via American Meteor Society)
So, what was it? Most likely, it was a meteor. Meteors are pieces of rock, ice and dust, usually from a comet, that explode and burn up as they enter the Earth's atmosphere. There are two meteor showers taking place in the month of September. First, the Southern Taurids, which are active for two months from Sept. 7-Nov. 19th. According to the American Meteor Society, they tend to produce few "shooting stars" but can be rich in fireballs and often responsible for an uptick in fireball reports to the society's website. In addition to the Southern Taurids, the less known Piscids will be near their peak in September and continue through October. Check out this article from In-The-Sky.org. Let us know if you saw anything: Just go to our Stormwatch7 Facebook page and leave a note.
This video was taken from Jesse Ferrell who works for Accuweather in State College, PA. You can see how the fireball completely lit up the night sky.
Here's another look at the meteor from Jeremy Settle, Assistant News Director at News 12 in New Jersey.