If you happen to live in the western United States, and were hanging around outside early Tuesday night, there’s a really good chance you saw something very odd in the sky. An extremely bright object streaked across the heavens at around 8:30pm MT, giving skygazers a nice mix of excitement and anxiety.
The fireball is thought to have been a meteor, and according to the American Meteor Society, well over 100 reports of the object have come in since late Tuesday night, spanning more than a handful of US states.
Reports of the fireball — which shone brightly as it burned up in Earth’s atmosphere before being destroyed in a bright flash that lit up the night sky — came in from all across Arizona, Utah, Nevada, California, and New Mexico. It wasn’t a particularly large object, and is thought to only have been a few feet wide, at most, but it still provided quite the spectacle for anyone who was in the right place at the right time.
But despite being burnt up in Earth’s all-important protective layer, the object still likely left a significant amount of debris as its charred remains fell. Astronomers have suggested that any bits of meteor that remained intact likely landed somewhere between Flagstaff and Phoenix in Arizona. No reports of any injuries or damage have been recorded.
Thanks to some conveniently placed cameras on the Phoenix city hall building, the fireball was captured in fantastic detail. More footage of the object, from car dash cameras and elsewhere, has also found its way to the internet.
The American Meteor Society has an entire online database dedicated to spotting and tracking fireball events. You can browse past reports and submit your own if you ever happen to see something bright flash in the night sky, and if you grab a photo or video of the event you can share it with the researchers as well.