Green fireball across sky likely a meteor, experts sayA bright green object that blazed from north to south over the region in the predawn hours yesterday likely was a meteor and not the re-entry of space debris, an Air Force Space Command official said.
By Pete Zapadka
By Pete Zapadka
The sighting of the object caused numerous phone calls to local radio and television stations when it appeared around 5:40 a.m. KDKA Radio reported the object was seen from Indiana to Virginia, but would have been visible for less than 10 seconds before it burned up in the atmosphere.
An object's greenish appearance normally is the signature of a rocket re-entry, which apparently was not the case.
"I talked to our guys at the First Space Control squadron who look at that kind of thing. They did not see anything as far as orbital debris or rocket debris," said Capt. Joe Macri of the Air Force Space Command in Colorado. "It could have been meteor activity, but I can't say for sure."
Astronomer John Radzilowicz, director of visitor experience at the Carnegie Science Center, said he did not see the object. He heard about it from numerous phone calls. "We've been getting calls, not from the public which we usually get, but from the media," he said. He said the object "was big, bright and green ... just a large, bright meteor."
Occasionally, chunks of space rock are caught by Earth's gravity, enter the atmosphere at high speeds, encounter friction with air molecules, then burn up long before they reach the ground.
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