‘Fireball’ Lights Up Skies All Along the Eastern Seaboard

by Samantha Whidden
(Photo by GREGG NEWTON/AFP via Getty Images)

Residents in Virginia had quite a sight when a “mysterious fireball” lit up the sky in the morning hours of Monday (November 7th). 

According to The State, the fireball was actually from NASA. The space organization revealed that it had launched a spacecraft off the Virginia coast, the S.S. Sally Ride. The spacecraft was launched at 5:32 a.m. from the Wallops Flight Facility on Wallops Island. It is named after the first American woman to ever go to space. The spacecraft is carrying supplies to the International Space Station. 

Along with residents in Virginia, those in North Carolina saw the fireball as well. Speaking about the fireball, one viewer from North Carolina stated, “This was over my neighborhood. It seemed to be moving quick with a burning ball in front of it.” 

Another witness to NASA’s “fireball” wrote, “Woke up to my whole house shaken… I need to keep up with these launches.”

According to NASA’s website, in June 1983, Sally Ride went up on Challenger’s STS-7 mission with four male crewmates. Ride had done two trips to orbit aboard the shuttle and then worked at the University of California. She also served as a member of the Review of U.S. Human Spaceflight Plans Committee in 2009. Unfortunately, Ride passed away on July 23, 2012, at the age of 61 after battling pancreatic cancer. 

NASA Previously Reported a ‘Fireball’ Exploding in Virginia 

In 2021, NASA reported that a fireball had exploded in the sky above Virginia. KKTV reported that the incident caused some power outages in the state’s Hardy County. Initially, reports said it was a possible explosion in Shenandoah County, but no explosions were found in the area. 

Satellite data also reportedly picked up on lightning flashes over Hardy County around 10:30 a.m. on the morning of September 22, 2021. However, there were no storms in the area at the time. This indicated that something else occurred in the sky. The fireball was later declared a large meteor that exploded. This is called a bolide. 

NASA Meteoroid Environment Program Management, Bill Cooke said that daytime meteor events are rare. They also depend on eyewitness reports. He also said that the reports are showing that the meteor was likely about as bright as the moon. However, a pilot reported to the American Meteor Society. He and his co-pilot witnessed the meteor at 36,000 feet.

“This corresponds to an energy between one and two tons of TNT, which gives a mass of around 50 pounds (25 kilograms) for the object causing the fireball (assuming a typical speed of 45,000 miles per hour),” Cooke said at the time. “It is possible that this event produced meteorites somewhere in the northern Virginia/eastern West Virginia area.”

NASA was going to investigate the events that occurred.