Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Fireball over Florida.

The American Meteor Society has received reports of a bright fireball meteor being seen over Florida slightly 11.20 pm on Monday 21 November 2016 Eastern Daylight Time (slightly before 4.20 am on Tuesday 22 November GMT). The majority of the reports came from Florida, though sightings were also recorded from southern Alabams and Georgia. The object was first seen over the Gulf of Mexico, and moved to the northeast, passisng across Florida and dissappearing to the east of Anna Maria Island. A fireball is defined as a meteor (shooting star) brighter than the planet Venus. These are typically caused by pieces of rock burning up in the atmosphere, but can be the result of man-made space-junk burning up on re-entry.

 The 21 November 2016 Florida meteor. American Meteor Society.

Objects of this size probably enter the Earth's atmosphere several times a year, though unless they do so over populated areas they are unlikely to be noticed. They are officially described as fireballs if they produce a light brighter than the planet Venus. It is possible that this object will have produced meteorites that reached the surface (an object visible in the sky is a meteor, a rock that falls from the sky and can be physically held and examined is a meteorite).

Witness reports can help astronomers to understand these events. If you witnessed this fireball you can report it to the American Meteor Society here.

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