Blazing fireball streaks through the sky, exploding over US and Canada
Monolith, schmonolith. While the internet is busy contemplating the nature of the shiny, metal markers popping up around the globe, fireballs are raining down on us. There’s an REM song for this, I know it….
Footage released by live webcam service EarthCam on Wednesday shows a tiny object passing by Toronto’s CN Tower and the skies lighting up for a brief moment. CityNews reports that viewers emailed the network saying they’d seen a fireball in the sky, and the American Meteor Society, which tracks these events, logged almost 100 sightings around midday Wednesday.
Though the image above appears to show the object passing near CN Tower and seeming more like a bird than a space rock, later imagery of the daytime sky bursting with light is indicative of a meteor crashing and burning in the Earth’s atmosphere. Check it out below:
A meteor is a chunk of metallic rock that smashes into Earth’s atmosphere and burns up. If the pieces of rock don’t just disintegrate on impact, and they reach the surface, they’re known as meteorites. These rocks are important for astronomers because they reveal secrets about our early solar system and the types of chemicals and elements we might find in space.
Only a week ago, a research vessel in the Southern Ocean captured footage of a massive fireball blazing across the sky before disappearing. Are these events increasing in number? That’s not the case — meteors collide with Earth’s atmosphere all the time, but we’re just observing the world from more angles than ever before.
On Sunday, a different type of object will light up the skies over Australia when Japan’s Hayabusa2 spacecraft returns a pristine asteroid sample to Earth.