It may be a while before scientists are able to figure out exactly what caused the loud boom, bright flash, and lingering debris trail in the Arizona skies early Thursday morning.
As reported by AZ Central, it may have been a meteor, or it may have been space junk fallen to Earth, said Josh Bangle with the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff.
Whatever it was, it brought on a spectacular light show, leaving behind a colorful trail that hung in the skies till well past sunrise.
Witnesses report a loud boom and the night sky lighting up at 3:48 a.m. Surveillance video shows area residences lit up like daylight for a second as the event passed.
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Very little of the object is likely to have made it to the ground, Bangle said. “Specks, maybe.”
More than 140 people have reported the “bright fireball” that illuminated the sky around 3:57 a.m. Thursday to the American Meteor Society, a spokesman said. Very bright meteors, also referred to as “fireballs,” occur quite frequently over oceans and other inhabited areas but are usually not visible in daylight, the society said.
Bangle says he object could have been relatively large to have made such an impression … but not as large as you might think. Traveling at tremendous speeds, a meteor the size of a baseball could have caused the flash we saw.
“There’s always small objects entering Earth’s atmosphere,” Bangle said. His observatory tracks 50 to 200 a night.
Most, of course, do not make such a noticeable bang. But occasionally we get a big one. “We see some the size of a watermelon,” Bangle said.
So far, there has been no official confirmation as to what the flash was, but we’re working hard to get to the bottom of it!