Fireball in the Pacific Northwest Causes Night Sky To Become as ‘Bright as Day’

by Sean Griffin
(Photo by: Dukas/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

The Northern and Southern Taurid meteor showers peaked a while back. However, a few people up late and security cameras in the Pacific Northwest caught a glimpse of an encore early Sunday morning. Light flashed out through the nighttime sky.

Almost 30 witness reports from Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Nevada reported fireballs shooting across the sky. These sightings occurred after 3:30 a.m. PST, with some accounts saying the sky looked as bright as daylight.

“The initial flash made the whole area as bright as day,” one spotter identified as Ed P. from Madras, Oregon, told the American Meteor Society.

“It looked like a firework in the wrong direction, but I could tell it was not close,” bystander Trenton M. from Twin Falls, Idaho, wrote after observing the sky.

A person identified as Kyle J. from Nampa, Idaho said that it first seemed like a spotlight had shone down and “exploded and shot across the sky.”

Another witness named Barbara W. spotted the fireball and described it as a moving sight.

“It was an accident. I woke up early morning, looked out the window, and saw this amazing sight,” Barbara wrote.

The Northern and Southern Taurid meteor showers have already peaked. However, it’s clear they haven’t finished up lighting up the western skies.

“Given the trajectory of the fireball, it is a possibility that it was related to either the Northern Taurid or Southern Taurid meteor showers, both of which peaked during the first half of November but are active into December,” AccuWeather Meteorologist Brian Lada said. “These two meteor showers are known for producing more fireballs than other meteor showers throughout the year.”

Fireball Sightings Have Increased Across the United States Recently

He added that not every shooting star or fireball is connected to a meteor shower despite popular belief.

However, at least 102 fireball events with five witness reports were recorded across the U.S. from Nov. 1 to Nov. 15. These numbers come from the American Meteor Society. Six of these events accumulated over 100 reports from Nov. 4 to Nov. 9.

The fireball on Nov. 9 came in with 177 reports, the most by far. It was even witnessed across some midwestern and southern states.

However, you can capture a picture of a fireball by taking a picture with the lens pointed “up with as much of the night sky in the field of view as possible,” Lada said.

A fireball is simply another word for a very bright meteor, according to the American Meteorological Society. Most meteors are only the size of tiny pebbles. A meteor the size of a softball can produce light equivalent to the full moon for a short instant.

Several thousand meteors of fireball magnitude occur in the Earth’s atmosphere each day, the AMS states. The vast majority of these, however, occur over the oceans and uninhabited regions. Moreover, many are covered by daylight.