October 6, 2011 Fireball over Southeastern USA

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The American Meteor Society has so far received approximately 50 reports of a dazzling fireball over the southeastern USA including Florida, Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi.   This event occurred near 8:40pm EDT (7:40pm CDT) Thursday evening October 6th. Of the reports received so far, green is the by far the most mentioned color. Vivid green fireballs are not unusual and in the case of slow meteors, such as this one, are usually caused by a particular element such as nickel or copper present in the meteor. The green color observed in swift fireballs are more likely caused by ionized oxygen caused by the passage of the meteor through the atmosphere.  The average brightness reported by witnesses was near the light produced by a full moon. A fireball is a meteor that is larger than normal. Most meteors are only the size of small pebbles. A meteor the size of a softball can produce light equivalent to the full moon for a short instant. The reason for this is the extreme velocity at which these objects strike the atmosphere. Even the slowest meteors are still traveling at 10 miles per SECOND, which is much faster than a speeding bullet. Fireballs occur every day over some parts of the Earth. It is rare though for an individual to see more than one or two per lifetime as they can also occur during the day or on a cloudy night. Observing during one of the major annual meteor showers can increase your chance of seeing another bright meteor. Fireballs often appear much closer than they really are. The AMS receives countless reports that an object landed just over the hill when in fact it was several hundred miles away and was witnessed over several states. It is your perspective that makes meteors appear to strike the horizon when in fact they are still high in the atmosphere. This is much like a jetliner seen low in your sky. It appears low to you but for someone located many miles away in that direction, the jetliner is passing high overhead. Meteors become visible at approximately 50 miles above the Earth’s surface. Friction slows these objects down until they fall below the velocity necessary to produce light. At this point they still lie at least 5 miles high in the sky. They are invisible below this altitude and cannot be seen as they basically freefalling to the ground at 200mph. Very few meteors actually reach the ground as 99.99% completely disintegrate while still 10-20 miles up in the atmosphere. In the AMS fireball table, refer to event #1137 for 2011. Clear Skies! Robert LunsfordInflatable Pool



  • charles suggs 9 years ago

    I saw this green fireball at 837pm eastern time zone, according to my cars’ clock. I was heading west on Osceola Parkway in Kissimmee and it appeared in the west to northwestern sky, appearing to be traveling to the south or southwest. It was bright green in color with perhaps a hint of blue in the back (tail) of the object.

    Reply to charles
  • Adam 9 years ago

    I was sitting at Starbucks in Atlanta and looked up and saw this. No one else even noticed it. I said, “What the heck?” and my friend looked up and caught the end of it. I thought it was a flair at first, but realized it wasn’t. Pretty spectacular.

    Reply to Adam
    • ellen 9 years ago

      I saw this fireball in the sky with a bluish green tint around 8:40pm near Dacula, Ga (Gwinnett Co). My husband saw it as well. Glad to find out what it is! No one believed me…

      Reply to ellen
  • Marty 9 years ago

    My friend & were traveling back from The Highlands NC on hwy 365 toward 985 heading back to Atlanta when we saw a bright kind of green blue fireball, it look so close I thought we would here it hit the ground.. It was beautiful..

    Reply to Marty
  • Terry Snyder 9 years ago

    My son called me at home around 9:00 et to tell me he was running his dog, and saw a big green fireball falling out of sky, he was near UCF in Orlando, so I decided to google to see if anyone else had seen it, and came across this website, pretty neat.

    Reply to Terry
  • Angela 9 years ago

    Absolutely Stunning! Last night around 8:40 pm east coast time.. OCT 6, 2011 I witnessed the most amazing thing I have ever seen in my life. I was sitting on our back patio and a large green meteor (I think) fell from the sky. It was glowing and had a short trail of light behind it.. It was huge! The size of a very large watermelon. I have never seen anything like this in my entire life and I will never forget it.

    Reply to Angela
  • a random woman 9 years ago

    When i went by the local convenient store this morning on the way to work, a woman was asking if anyone had seen it. She said that she saw it around 7:30CST. We are in Northwest Florida. She described it as a green fireball that looks to her to be the size of a basketball from her stand point. And all i can say is that this will teach me to go to bed early.

    Reply to a
  • Deanna 9 years ago

    My husband and I were driving down the road and saw the bright green object headed towards the ground. It looked like a rocket it was moving so fast. We live in Brooksville Florida (Tampa Bay area). I’ve never seen anything like it! We also thought it was going to hit somewhere close. Crazy!

    Reply to Deanna
  • Jdee 9 years ago

    I seen the same as charles suggs did.
    I was in Winter Haven Fla. Very Cool colors…

    Reply to Jdee
  • Kaylee Daniel 9 years ago

    I was on my way home from a middle school football game in Gulf Shores, Alabama. I was on county road 6 and saw a green thing over head but didnt think anything of it because I thought it was ana airplane. My friends mom called her and asked if she saw it & she said no and I was like OH MY GOSH! I did!! thats so cool I saw this thing and didnt even know what it was!

    Reply to Kaylee
  • Dan 9 years ago

    Playing tennis south of Winter Garden Florida at approx. 8:40pm Oct 6 when my partner and I both looked up and saw what started out appearing to be a shooting star in the Northwest sky traveling West from about 1 o’clock to 8 o’clock. We were both speechless as it seemed to get bigger and brighter and more elongated the further it traveled. The head appeared bright orange to yellow and it’s tail was bright green. It lasted what seemed like around three to four seconds from the point where we first spied it to the point where it went out. Neither of us had ever seen anything like it. Truly amazing….. The rest of our group had a hard time believing us, and decided to google it and found this site….

    Reply to Dan
  • Dirk Valk 9 years ago

    October 6 Fireball sighting.
    Location: Lakeland, florida
    Time: appx 2040 EDT
    Notes: azimuth at sighting roughly NW, track roughly W, possibly WNW

    Reply to Dirk
  • Selena 9 years ago

    I saw this last night in Brandon, MS @7:40. I live near our local airport and thought it was a plane at first. It was large blue-green fuzzy ball of light with a tail. It appeared to fade into nothing. I was driving east. The fireball traveled from north to south across the horizon.

    Reply to Selena
    • Toni 9 years ago

      I was in Stringer Ms, when I saw it. Amazing !

      Reply to Toni
    • Brittney 9 years ago

      Oct 13th 2011 I witnessed a similar event near my home in Brandon ms also near the airport in the crossgates area I was in an area that is heavily wooded and did not see a fireball , rather a bright blueish green light that lit up the whole sky and seemed to be brightest towards the north. The light was seen around 1 am CST and because of the storms that passed thru the area a few hours earlier I decided to immediately check the radar to make sure I had not just seen lightning. Just as I figured the radar was completely clear. In my past experience such events or meteor showers seem to forecasted or publicized more than these events , or maybe I just missed something haha. I am glad to know other people have recently shared similar experiences.

      Reply to Brittney
  • Cindy Hart 9 years ago

    I am on the West coast of Florida a little town called Englewood!! I was close to the beach with a few Friends, and had the opportunity to view this meteor last evening at 8:40. I was like a kid in a candy store, I never saw anything so beautiful, The Green fireball I saw seemed to be heading south into the Gulf of Mexico! …

    Reply to Cindy
  • BRIAN 9 years ago


    Reply to BRIAN
  • Thomas L. 9 years ago

    I observed a streak of bright light of a blueish tint. It appeared in the east drawing a long wide streak across the sky, going in what looked to be the southwestern direction. From my prespective in looked to be about a 1/4″ thick and 4′ in length lasting 2 to 3 seconds. “ouh, ouh, ouh, ouh”, i interupted my company pointing in the direction to there backs. It lasted long enough for them to acknowledge my excitement, turn around, and still catch the tail end of the spectacular event. Absolutely amazing!

    Reply to Thomas
    • Cindy Hart 9 years ago

      I enjoyed reading your message! Thank you, your words and the exact visual you described! That is exactly what I saw and meant to say, 🙂 But I was just to excited, and someone later on said yeah she doesn’t want any more drama, dah! ,,,There is a difference in My eyes, and glad that we had this amazing opportunity to see the Beauty of this World! Thank you very much!

      After reading every bodies excitement, just bought me right back to last night!

      Reply to Cindy
  • Renae 9 years ago

    It was an amazing event! My husband and I were driving on Lower Roswell Road in Marietta, GA near Indian Hills when we saw the bright flash of light and green tail to the south. It was traveling east to west and low in the sky. It seemed very close and was an extremely bright flash. Neither one of us has ever seen anything like it before and we have observed many meteor showers and shooting stars over our lifetime. Right time, right place!!!

    Reply to Renae
  • Gary 9 years ago

    I was walking my Boxer dog @ 8:40pm last night when I looked up in the sky and saw this shooting meteor fly by with green, black, and a long tail of yellow – it was the largest thing I everseen fall in the atomsphere. I live in Suwanee, GA off of McGinnis Ferry Rd & Scales Rd. Does this count for my wish to come true what I wished for when I saw this fly by my eyes – Amazing & Awesome !!!

    Reply to Gary
    • DENISE TAYLOR 9 years ago

      I saw it too!!!! I also live in Suwanee, off of Peachtree Industrial Blvd near McGinnis Ferry Rd. I’ve never seen anything like it in my life. I was traveling on PIB when it flew right by my car. I’m so glad other people saw it as well. IM NOT CRAZY!

      Reply to DENISE
      • Mobo 9 years ago

        Dave, Meteors can fly in any number of drcoitiens. However, if you trace the paths of the Eta Aquarid meteors backward, they seem to radiate from a point in front of the constellation Aquarius. For more, here’s a link to our May 4 program at Bruce

        Reply to Mobo
  • Troy 9 years ago

    I had just picked up my daughter from volleyball practice and on the way home when we both said at the same time, “Did you see that!”. A bright green ball traveling across the sky at a high rate of speed. It was like a Fourth of July firework traveling horizontally. It was the coolest thing either one of us had ever seen.

    Reply to Troy
  • Kat 9 years ago

    I saw this fireball last night driving home from church and couldn’t believe it. It was so green and was going low across the sky at 8:40 p.m. when I was stopped at a traffic light in Sugar Hill on Georgia Hwy. 20 driving back home. It appeared to go east to west. Very beautiful and SO glad I got to see it!

    Reply to Kat
  • Denise 9 years ago

    I was walking my dog last night and just happened to look up to the sky to see a bright light that then turned green. I was so excited and amazed. I live in Clearwater, FL. I called a local TV station to report my sighting and to make sure I wasn’t crazy. The station verified my sighting as I was the second caller to report this. I feel very special to have witnessed this rare event. I still get goosebumps when I think about it!

    Reply to Denise
  • Chris 9 years ago

    In Tampa, FL we were driving down the interstate heading North. My wife and I saw a huge red fireball which then turned green and lasted for about 3 seconds. We both thought it was landing somewhere close. I have never seen anything like it. Amazing.

    Reply to Chris
  • Chad Smith 9 years ago

    My wife and I saw it. We’ve both seen “shooting stars”, but this thing lasted for what seemed like forever. Not only that, but it was much larger than anything we’ve seen. I must say, it was absolutely amazing. Green/Blue fireball with a very long tail. Best word to describe it: Wow!

    Reply to Chad
  • Bob M 9 years ago

    I live in Pinellas county Florida (Clearwater). I was walking my dog and around 8:40 PM I noticed this blue-green fireball streaking across the sky. It was at least as bright as a full moon. It was visible for only a few seconds. As it progressed across the sky it became a brilliant orange color and then disappeared. I have seen several meteor showers in various places of the USA. However, this was by far the brightest meteor I have ever seen. Even more so when considering the amount of light pollution in the night time sky of Tampa Bay.

    Reply to Bob
    • Matt 9 years ago

      I live in Huntington Beach CALIF and I saw the last of this ball . I saw only a big orange flame that looked like a hot air baloon heating up its air with orange flame. But it was a fire ball. Over here I saw only orange flames maybe for a minute then the flame went out and I still saw something for maybe 20 seconds then it was over with. Matt HB CA

      Reply to Matt
      • amsadmin 9 years ago

        Matt, there is no way an observer in California witnessed the same fireball as seen in the southeastern states. The limit is usually in the neighborhood of 500 miles. Due to their high velocity, fireballs seldom last over 10 seconds. If your object lasted over a minute then perhaps it was a hot air balloon or a Chinese lantern.

        Robert Lunsford
        American Meteor Society

        Reply to amsadmin
  • Stephanie 9 years ago

    I saw this fireball around 7:40 (central time) in Clanton, AL around I-65. It was an amazing sight! I have never seen anything like this in my whole life! It was bright green and seemed to have went on forever. I will never forget this!

    Reply to Stephanie
  • Marleigh 9 years ago

    At approximately 8:40 pm on Thursday night in Peachtree City, Georgia, I witnessed an amazing sight with my son. I saw a very bright ball of light with a large streak of green light following behind it. I feel so lucky to have witnessed such an amazing happening.

    Reply to Marleigh
  • Michelle 9 years ago

    My son and I were parking our Jeep when my son looked up and seen a large green object traveling across the sky and told me to look at it. It appeared to glow as it traveled, amazing to see.

    Reply to Michelle
  • Mitch 9 years ago

    I was sitting at a traffic light facing north in Land O Lakes Fl when I saw the bright green object flash through the sky for three – four seconds, It was absolutely amazing !

    Reply to Mitch
  • Heather Mitchell 9 years ago

    My daughter and I were coming home after sunset last night, and we saw a blue object cross the sky, with a yellow tail, like a firework or large shooting star. We were near the airport in Pensacola, but it was definitely not an aircraft. The object appeared to break up into a sparkle of white flashes as it disappeared from view. We were awestruck.

    Reply to Heather
  • Justin 9 years ago

    My wife and I were driving south in Pensacola, FL when we saw a three bluish lights hovering in the eastern sky. The lights appeard to move towards the south before vanishing. It was interesting to see.

    Reply to Justin
  • Jennie 9 years ago

    On Thursday, October 6, I was sitting in my living room, which faces West, and just happened to look out the window in time to see this beautiful bluish-green ball go flying across the sky. It actually stayed visible for much longer than a “shooting star” and then became brighter before disappearing below the horizon. Absolutely fantastic! I called everyone I know, but I’m the only one who happened to be looking at the right place at the right time!

    Reply to Jennie
  • Jennie 9 years ago

    Ooops – forgot to mention – I live in Pinellas County, FL also – in St. Pete.

    Reply to Jennie
  • Richard Cosse' 9 years ago

    From Port Sulphur, Louisiana, I witnessed the fireball for maybe 2 seconds. I was beneith trees and still saw it. It didn’t have much of a tail from my perspective. Appeared to be headed East to West.

    Reply to Richard
  • John 9 years ago

    My daughter and I were cooling off after a jog around Crescent Lake in Saint Petersburg, FL. We saw the bright green light streak across the sky around 8:40. It had firework characteristics, but we both knew it was something different. Thanks for putting up this information. It was a spectacular sight.

    Reply to John
  • shane oldham 9 years ago

    My wife and I were on a camping trip in Lagrange, GA. We were sitting by the lake with the fire at our feet as we watched the most beautiful green shooting star go across the sky. We will forever remember the fireball on that clear fall night.

    Reply to shane
  • Sally 9 years ago

    We were sitting on my friends Edy’s patio in Bradenton Fl and at 8:40 saw the Fireball, amazing ! Saw a green area around the ball.We called the coast guard and McDill air base.They new nothing ! We were not drunk either !

    Reply to Sally
  • Yvonne 9 years ago

    So glad to know I’m not the only one to see this or that I wasn’t crazy!! 🙂 I was on my way to pick my son up from his high school JV game in Cartersville, GA and saw this beautiful sight go across the sky and then finally vanish. It was beautiful!!!! This is actually the second one I have seen since moving back to this area!!

    Reply to Yvonne
  • Debbie 9 years ago

    I was sitting on my porch Thursday night in South George County, Ms and saw a bright green light with a long tail go across the sky. It was so amazing and it looked so close, I waited to hear it hit the ground.

    Reply to Debbie
  • Greg A 9 years ago

    I was heading south on I75 just about to the Byron, GA exit. It was so bright and seemed to last forever. I had time to tell my daughter to look up at it and we both made short comments before it disappeared at the horizon. It was green and seemed to be moving very slowly from our perpective. I am so glad that other people saw it.

    Reply to Greg
  • Linn 9 years ago

    I live on the south Mississippi/Alabama line. I was sitting on my front porch talking with family and happened to look up into the eastern sky just as it passed between the trees headed south into the Gulf of Mexico. It was a huge green ball with a blue tail. It only lasted a second and noone else saw it. I even asked around and until I found this website it seemed like I was the only one that saw it period! Anyway, it was amazing!!!

    Reply to Linn
  • Mike in Norfolk, VA 9 years ago

    On Thursday October 6, 2011, I looked outside and saw this orange glow in the sky. At first I thought it was Venus. Then I realized it was way too bright for Venus. Then I thought that maybe it was a plane on fire or a missile. I have seen shooting stars before, and know that it was not one. Then I thought maybe it was a flare, but realized that the sky wasn’t lit up, even though the moon was bright. A friend said it may have been a supernova, because one exploded in September, and he said we were supposed to be able to see it about now. I researched this, and the research said you should only be able to see the supernova through a telescope. Could this have been a meteor? It seems some of you have seen a greenish glow in the more Southern states, and believe that to be meteors. It moved very very slowly, and then after a few minutes disappeared. It got brighter from the first minute I saw it. It was orange and not green. Any suggestions what this really was? No local news reports or anything about it yet.

    Reply to Mike
    • amsadmin 9 years ago

      Mike, meteors only last a few seconds at most so no, it was not a meteor. It sounds to me like it could have been a Chinese lantern. These appear as bright orange flames or stars and move slowly across the sky. They have become popular in the USA and and often mistaken as meteors or UFO’s.

      Robert Lunsford
      American Meteor Society

      Reply to amsadmin
      • Mike 9 years ago

        Thanks for your reply. I am going to research that. But whatever it was, it got brighter and disappeared after a few minutes. And not sure whether it really moved or not. It seemed to stay in one place. That is why at first I thought it was Venus. Think it may have moved slightly, but not sure. Why do people send these in the air? It is just weird it happened the same night after the people in the more southern states saw the meteors. I am still baffled over this.

        Reply to Mike
      • Mike in Norfolk, VA 9 years ago

        I have a picture that I took of it with my phone camera, if you want me to send it to you. It shows something, but not that clear, so not sure what.

        Reply to Mike
        • Pablo 9 years ago

          Hi Mike.I’m doing a research of this event as it looks that the object landed in mid GA.You said you have a picture. May I get a copy? I’m trying to compare with other’s people.Thanks.

          Reply to Pablo
  • Mike in Norfolk, VA 9 years ago

    This occurred on Thursday, October 6, 2011 at 9:35pm.

    Reply to Mike
  • Elizabeth 9 years ago

    I was on my supper break at work in Sarasota Florida at around 8:45 pm when I saw a huge greenish-yellow fireball with a white tail falling through the sky to the NW. It lasted 3-4 seconds before it went behind some clouds and lit them up and that was all I saw. I listened closely and did seem to here a distant rumbling but I suppose that could have been anything. Another guy at work saw it at the same time. I saw another one many many years ago as a small child, but I’m sure my perception was different then, if not flawed.

    Reply to Elizabeth
  • Joe Howard 9 years ago

    I was sitting on the deck with some friends and caught sight of it as it came out from behind some trees………….blue-greem but more green than blue; appeared to have a corona to it but it all happened so fast I can’t be sure. I picked up maybe two seconds of it, enough to holler at the others and one other saw it. I reckon “size” is a matter of judgment but I’d say it’d be the size of a softball if you saw the softball from say 50-75 feet away. It appeared to me to be heading toward earth an a descent angle of maybe 15 – 20 degrees. I too thought I’d hear a “crash” Noted the time as 7:39 Central. JH

    Reply to Joe
  • Joe Howard 9 years ago

    I forgot; I live in Seminole Alabama, on US 90 about 15 miles west of Pensacola. JH

    Reply to Joe
  • rebecca jackson 9 years ago

    I was in Hollis Maine Friday October 7th about 930 pm. It was falling like ma falling star does but neon green and much bigger. Never seen anything like it.

    Reply to rebecca
  • jaysettle 9 years ago

    I saw it over the ocean in Florida with my family! Spectacular!!

    Reply to jaysettle
  • s easterwood 9 years ago

    Was on I-65 headed south in Cullman, Alabama just before the 308 exit.
    I’ve never seen anything that bright and vivid- beautiful green color ball!
    It was over so fast- i could have missed it.

    Reply to s
  • Carolyn Henry 9 years ago

    I was driving home from Huntsville on Highway 53 near Kelly Springs road. It soared slowly over my car. It was basketball sized and more of a flame ball yellow orange. I would swear it hit somewhere west of the highway between Kelly Springs and Burwell Rd. I kept looking in my rearview and sideview mirrors hoping to see the impact. about 9:40pm central time

    Reply to Carolyn
  • DENISE TAYLOR 9 years ago


    Reply to DENISE
  • Angela 9 years ago

    My husband and I saw the meteor in Dothan, AL. From our perspective, it appeared a large white ball with red, followed by blue tail. Indeed I thought it was going to land close. However my daughter called from Panama City Beach scared the world was ending, as she saw it go over our house..

    Reply to Angela
  • natalie 9 years ago

    Omg I was outside when I seen this big green light in the sky going really fast. I had never seen this kind of things in chicago. I’m never going to forget this day 11-01-11 at 10:17pm

    Reply to natalie
  • Lisa 9 years ago

    Very late entry…my daugther and I talk about this sighting often,, As we were driving through the TN mountains, this particular night we saw the star going over the mountains, via 24/or75 S headed to ATL.. We continued to drive and wanted to stop to get something to eat. We got off toward the highway, to a road towards Jasper, TN.(I think) The road was dark, so we turned around, then we noticed in a field that there was bright orange/red fire remnants in a field, in a lined pattern.. as though it had skipped across the field…of course we both wondered if it was the meteorite. We called family and friends…and was told to report it…we didn’t know to whom just incase we were mistaken…or be called foolish because it is said that they rarely make it to the ground.. but We wondered would someone want to know to get the remnants….or who could check it out…

    Reply to Lisa
  • st toma 9 years ago

    i saw it in metro detroit michigan around between 8-1130pm eastern. What was the distance between earth and said object?

    Reply to st
    • amsadmin 9 years ago

      Meteors normally become visible near 50 miles in altitude. How far down they survive depends on many factors such as composition, velocity, and size. Meteors lose the ability to emit light near 5 miles up so you can bet it was at least that high when it extinguished.

      Robert Lunsford

      Reply to amsadmin
  • Kevin 9 years ago

    I saw the “green fire” ball three separate times in Colorado. two times in Denver and the most vivid one was traveling downward at a 45% angle over the front range. I was looking west traveling north on HWY 93 towards Boulder CO I remember it was on October 31st. I was on my way to a Halloween party. It was the most brilliant neon green color like a firework. It did not fade out as it dropped behind the mountains out of view. But the most compelling thing, every time I saw these balls, there was no vapor trail like a meteor would do. Not even a fire tail!! Still looking for an explanation?

    Reply to Kevin
    • amsadmin 9 years ago

      Kevin and All,

      Slower fireballs often lack a “vapor trail” as you stated. Only the fastest meteors have the velocity to excite the doubly ionized oxygen in the upper atmosphere to produce a persistent train.

      I hope this helps!

      Robert Lunsford
      American Meteor Society

      Reply to amsadmin
  • jon hoots 9 years ago

    I saw a blue fireball with a tail of maybe 7 to 800 yards long in Glasgow KY. at 12:30 AM. I watched it come in at a 45 degree angle and the fire never diminished as it continued to the ground. I lost sight of it behind a small hill at around 50 to 100 feet from impact. It was still burning and the tail followed behind the hill. I have saw many shooting stars but nothing that did not burn up quickly. This was just weird.

    Reply to jon
  • Eric 9 years ago

    I think this was the same 1 seen. I live n Centre, Alabama n i was siting out on the front porch with my girlfriend in a set of rocking chairs just before we were about to go to bed and out of no where the night sky lite up like it was day time. I looked up to see this meteorite glowing bright green as though it was only about 100 yards away from me. Im almost sure i know close to were it landed. I know most meteorites are mainly iron but i had already figured out there is probably some kind of copper element in it b/c of the green glow. I would like to know what rights i have to go dig it up if i can find the exact location of it and i think that i do. I have only seen 1 other example of a meteorite this bright on Meteorite Men. It literally turned the night sky as bright as day. Please email me bak and let me know about what rights i have to dig it up. Thanks, Eric.

    Reply to Eric

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