Caught on camera: Fireball lights up Edmonton night sky
Published Sunday, September 1, 2019 10:04AM MDT
Last Updated Sunday, September 1, 2019 4:40PM MDT
A bright shooting light illuminated the Edmonton sky—and residents' security cameras—briefly Saturday night.
"I was just turning the corner... and I noticed the sky got really bright all of a sudden," recalled Edmontonian Louis Bouchier.
Bouchier had been driving home Saturday evening, and was near the Cross Cancer Institute, when he saw the flash.
"Like someone turned on a floodlight."
The light was a fireball that was traveling an estimated 70 kilometres per second.
A fireball, explained Frank Florian, director of planetarium and space sciences at the Telus World of Science Edmonton, is a bright meteor or bolide whose brightness exceeds that of the planet Venus in our sky.
"It's just amazing to watch these things fly across the sky," Florian said.
Florian guessed the object was likely a remnant of an asteroid or piece of rock from space, passing through Earth's atmosphere.
Brightness may also indicate the object left behind fragments or meteorites when it entered Earth's atmosphere.
On the other side of Edmonton, Michael Noble of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada also captured the fireball—but by accident.
"I was capturing every second of the night of whatever the aurora was doing," he said.
A 15-milimetre lens gives him a 157-degree view of the sky. His photos, taken at two-second intervals, show the meteor pass overhead.
"It's like daylight... It shows you how intense and bright this particular meteor was."
Many took to social media to share footage of the moment it passed by on their security and dash cams. The meteor was visible from as far as Saskatchewan.
Roughly 500 meteorites fall to Earth every year, but only about 10 are actually discovered and found.
Local astronomers will now turn to finding the meteor's landing site.
With files from Timm Bruch