Meteor Lights Up Eastern Sky, Then the Twitterverse (Video)

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht

Social media was abuzz Friday night with reports of a bright light seen travelling across the sky on the east coast.

The Federal Aviation Administration fielded calls of the event from Virginia to Maine. Every few seconds sighting would pop up on Twitter "OMG I saw a real meteor in the Brooklyn's sky," @CuriousSergey tweeted. "It's all over the news now!”

Bill Cooke of NASA's Meteoroid Environmental Office said the flash appears to be "a single meteor event." He said it "looks to be a fireball that moved roughly toward the southeast, going on visual reports."

"Judging from the brightness, we're dealing with something as bright as the full moon," Cooke said. "The thing is probably a yard across. We basically have (had) a boulder enter the atmosphere over the northeast."

If you have something this bright carry over that heavily populated area, a lot of people are going to see it," he said. "It occurred around 8 tonight, there were a lot of people out, and you've got all those big cities out there."

Cooke said the widely seen meteor generated 350 reports on the American Meteor Society website alone.

Robert Lunsford of the American Meteor Society told USA Today "it basically looked like a super bright shooting star."

Matt Moore, news editor with The Associated Press, was standing in queue for a concert in downtown Philadelphia when "a brilliant flash moving across the sky at a very brisk pace...and utterly silent."

Moore said it had a "spherical shape and yellowish and you could tell it was burning, with the trail that it left behind."

He said it was about dusk and that the flash was visible to him for only about three seconds before it was gone.

"It was clearly high up in the atmosphere," he said. "But from the way it appeared, it looked like a plane preparing to land at the airport."

Spokesman for the North American Aerospace Defense Command Michael Kucharek confirmed the fireball was not due to anything man made like a plane or falling satellite.

Chief astronomer at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia Derrick Pitts said the sightings fit the descriptions of a “fireball”: lasting 7-10 seconds, being bright and colorful, and seeming to cross much of the sky with a stream behind it.

Pitts said people likely saw a “space rock” that may have only been the size of a softball or volleyball that fell fairly far into the Earth’s atmosphere – likening it to a stone skipping across the water – getting “a nice long burn out of it.”

A security camera in Thurmont, M.D., captured the meteor lighting up the night.

(Mercury NewsCNN)