Bright Light Explained: A Fireball Soared Over Georgia Sunday, Says NASA
If you were looking up at the sky over southeast Georgia Sunday night, you would be forgiven for getting in touch with your inner Chicken Little and thinking that the sky just might be falling. After all, it's not every night that a giant fireball blazes across the sky.
The bright light was spotted streaking across the night sky at about 10 p.m. on Sunday, according to the NASA Meteor Watch Facebook page.
At least 88 folks across the South from Tennessee to Florida and over to Alabama reported seeing the glowing ball flying through the night air, Macon.com previously reported. NASA said in its Facebook post that the object "rivaled that of the Full Moon" when it appeared "52 miles above the town of Donald in southeast Georgia, moving northwest at 45,000 miles per hour."
This was no unidentified object, though, it was a fireball. According to the International Meteor Organization (IMO), fireballs are simply meteors that appear brighter than normal. While fireballs are pretty common, they typically are so small that people don't get to see their little light shine as they burn up in the atmosphere.
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The IMO says fireballs like the one that flew over Georgia last night "are a rare spectacle that is witnessed very few times per lifetime." This fireball was reportedly so bright that it was seen from space and caught on NASA cameras. Those lucky sky watchers may have even seen something truly special, because the IMO says that, "fireballs brighter than the full moon are exceedingly rare."