SUNRISE, Fla. – Did you see it Monday night? The incredible streak of light across the night sky that was spotted along Florida’s Atlantic coast?
While there are still questions about where it came from, the experts say it was likely a meteor.
“What we know it is, it’s definitely a meteor that came in. Now where it originated from is up for debate,” said Jason Matter, VP of the South Florida Amateur Astronomy Association. “Some people think it might have been part of the Asteroid 2021 GW4 that was passing really close to the Earth, maybe a piece of it broke off and came into the Earth or it could have been something else we didn’t just see.”
Dr. Angela Colbert of the Frost Science Museum said that while there are lots of possibilities, a meteor is “the most likely one. It could have even been a piece of space junk that fell and skipped into the atmosphere for some reason.”
Colbert, the Knight VP of Education at Frost, said unfortunately we’ll likely never know for sure because it never hit the Earth’s surface.
“These happen all of the time around the world, so formal investigation may never happen,” she said. “We may never fully know what this is.”
Matter also said meteors hit Earth’s atmosphere like this pretty often, but what made this one so unique was how many people spotted it.
“Usually when something comes in, it comes in, burns and burns out pretty quickly. This was seen all of the way from northern Florida to the Bahamas, so the burn lasted quite a long time,” Matter said.
Home surveillance cameras and webcams caught it right at 10:16 p.m.
The green color some clips show is because of the nickel in the meteor burning up as it traveled.
As for why it made that big flash, Colbert said there’s an explanation for that, too.
“It could have just been the way it hit the atmosphere that it created this big what’s known as a fireball,” Colbert said. “It’s called a fireball when there’s a flash that’s brighter than how Venus shines in the night sky.”