WATCH: Blazing Fireball Lights Up Skies Over New York, Connecticut

by Emily Morgan

Recently, people in the northeast were left stunned after they were lucky enough to capture a blazing fireball in the sky. On September 2, a sphere of fire lit up the skies in New York and Connecticut, and lucky for us, some of the bystanders captured the event on camera.

“Saw this while I was driving,” wrote one user who saw the fireball in Pennsylvania. “It was so bright I practically swerved my car because I thought it was another car coming at me. But I saw it in the sky when I looked to see what the light was.”

Another witness who saw the fireball in New York wrote: “This is the 3rd fireball I’ve seen in my life, but the others were more fiery, red, ‘slow’ burn. This was extremely bright and white, gorgeous!” One New Yorker also described the fireball as “INCREDIBLY bright.”

According to scientists, fireballs are classified as an exceptionally bright meteors. These space rocks enter Earth’s atmosphere at such a high speed that heat from air covers the asteroid in flames.

In addition, some fireballs are known to make noises. While many people didn’t report hearing any sounds associated with this particular fireball, some did. One New York witness said they heard a “very faint double boom” after the ball of flames flew overhead, with the two loud booms separated by about half a second.

Although it may seem like fireballs make rare appearances, they are actually fairly prevalent. According to reports, several thousand fireballs occur in our atmosphere daily. However, most of them can’t be seen with the naked eye because they fly over unpopulated areas.

Residents in New York, Connecticut lucky enough to capture stunning fireball on film

In addition, another reason why we don’t see fireballs that often is due to the small number of people who are outside when they fly by at night.

As a result, many of the fireball videos are captured by chance, either by home security cameras or dashcams. For instance, one video of the recent fireball shows the space rock briefly dashing over the horizon, with debris trailing behind it.

In another clip, you can see it was recorded outside someone’s home. It shows the fireball whizzing overhead, flashing brightly before disappearing behind the trees.

Scientists measure the brightness of these objects using a unit known as magnitude. The lower the value, the brighter the astronomical object will be.

For example, Polaris, the polar star that Northern Hemisphere navigators have used for generations, has a magnitude of about +2.1. In comparison, a full moon has a magnitude of about -12.6. The sun also has a magnitude of about -26.7, according to the American Meteor Society.