Massive fireball lights up nighttime sky over Front Range cities

The American Meteor Society received 50 eyewitness reports describing the bright fireball that streaked across the sky over Front Range cities early Sunday morning, with some observers capturing their astonishment in vivid detail.

“I was looking down with my dog who wanted outside and the room filled with light like a car had pointed headlights through the window (but it was the backyard not near a street where that could happen),” an observer identified as Travis A. from Highlands Ranch wrote on the AMS event reporting portal. “I looked out and saw the tail. It was more defined than any meteor or ‘shooting star’ I’ve ever seen. I missed the brightest part that lasted about 1-1.5 (seconds), the tail was visible another 2-3 (seconds).”

“Unbelievable, chilling, mindblowing,” wrote Triah G. of Denver.

The fireball, a term used to describe unusually bright meteors, was seen around 4:30 a.m. on Sunday, moving from southwest to northeast. Sightings were concentrated over Front Range cities, but it was seen as far north as Douglas, Wyo., and as far south as Ojo Caliente, N.M. It was also observed in Edwards, a town located 10 miles west of Vail.

“While walking my dog around 4:30 a.m., the brief bright flash even drew my dog’s attention,” Linda C. of Englewood wrote on the meteor society’s site. “There was no sound, it was like a flash bulb that lit up like the sun and it only lasted a fraction of a second.”

Ida M. of Castle Rock said the light “made the night turn day,” and Sven S. of Boulder said his mouth was “agape” during the event.

“First time in my life I have ever heard one,” wrote Grady H. of Littleton. “Wow!!!”

According to the meteor society, several thousand fireballs enter earth’s atmosphere every day, but most of them go unseen because they occur over oceans or uninhabited areas. Still more occur during daytime when they may not be as visible.

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