Fireball Over Eastern USA Coast-November 10, 2021

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Nearly 500 reports from 13 states

No, this is not a report of the launch of the Falcon 9 rocket carrying the Space X Crew Dragon in its rendezvous with the International Space Station. Incredibly, nearly all of the witnesses were outside the view the launch of this rocket when an incredibly bright Taurid fireball flashed through the sky. For many of the witnesses both the rocket and the fireball were visible simultaneously. So far the American Meteor Society (AMS) has received 481 reports of this fireball. It occurred near 9:12 pm EST on November 10, 2021 (02:12 Universal Time on November 11 ). The event page for this fireball is located at: AMS Event#2021-7540

If you witnessed this event and/or if you have a video or a photo of this event, please
Submit an Official Fireball Report

If you want to learn more about Fireballs: read our Fireball FAQ.

The AMS Event#2021-7540 event was mainly seen from North Carolina, but was also visible from Washington DC, Delaware, Georgia, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia. Analysis of the eyewitness accounts posted on the AMS, combined with data from a NASA camera located in western North Carolina and other publicly accessible videos indicate that the meteor first became visible 48 miles (77 km) above Greenville, North Carolina. Moving northwest at 33,000 miles per hour (53,000 km/h), it survived only 3.5 seconds before disintegrating 28 miles (45 km) above Macclesfield. At its brightest, the fireball rivaled the Full Moon, suggesting it was caused by an object roughly 45 pounds (20 kg) in weight and 10 inches (25 cm) in diameter. The low speed could imply an asteroidal origin.

Fireball, Bolide?

Several thousand meteors of fireball magnitude occur in the Earth’s atmosphere each day. The vast majority of these, however, occur over the oceans and uninhabited regions, and a good many are masked by daylight. Those that occur at night also stand little chance of being detected due to the relatively low numbers of persons out to notice them.

Additionally, the brighter the fireball, the more rare is the event. As a general thumb rule, there are only about 1/3 as many fireballs present for each successively brighter magnitude class, following an exponential decrease. Experienced observers can expect to see only about 1 fireball of magnitude -6 or better for every 200 hours of meteor observing, while a fireball of magnitude -4 can be expected about once every 20 hours or so.

AMS TERMINOLOGY

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12 comments

  • Celeste Anderson 4 weeks ago

    Thank you for all of this information. That was by far one of the most amazing things I’ve seen in nature and according to your article it was quite rare.

    Reply to Celeste
  • Antonio G 4 weeks ago

    Like many trying to see SpaceX, I was out in a field north of Philadelphia, PA, I can see the Falcon / Space X rocket trail about 7-8 min fly by after launch. Staring, waiting looking toward the S, SE….and out of nowhere this super bright green streak dropped.

    Honestly I thought for 1/2 second it was part of the rocket..some separation, maybe a firework, but this looked too bright, fast drop downward.

    Failed to see, even capture long exposure photo the SpaceX trail…which I had pointed due east (some thin clouds and also still leaves on the trees up here so there is an obstruction of my view) But the fireball mad up for this! Brief 1-2 seconds, but so so cool!

    Reply to Antonio
  • Candi 4 weeks ago

    We saw it in Savannah and caught it on video.

    Reply to Candi
  • Jenn 4 weeks ago

    I’m pretty sure it landed in the field beside my house. I happened to look out the window and it looked like a bright white basketball with fire streaking from it. It was below the tree line because where I was sitting I couldn’t see the sky. It definitely didn’t burn up before landing. If it’s not in the field then it is in the woods behind my house because it was REALLY low.

    Reply to Jenn
    • Ric McKee 4 weeks ago

      Jenn, nice description. Sounds like you had a good view of it. I can add some observations from a similar encounter. I had seen something similar a long time ago, very bright, low angle, green center with orange trail, seemed nearby. I spent a month looking for it; never getting very close to finding it. Talking with hundreds of others who had seen it, most thought it was nearby, but some of them were many many miles away from where I had seen it. In hindsight, it appears that almost all fireballs stop being visible long before they hit the ground. Usually, they fly out of your view, or they may explode (which you might witness), and that’s basically the end. Many/most stop leaving a train while they are 20 miles up or higher, and their glow then is no longer visible – and at that point, they are still invisibly traveling perhaps hundreds of miles onwards. Very few fireballs make it to the ground, but if it landed near your house, and was a sizeable one, you might have heard a sonic boom or other unusual noises, but it won’t be bright all the way down.

      Enjoy the memory. I will always treasure mine….

      Reply to Ric
  • Kim Ukonu 4 weeks ago

    I haven’t seen anyone from California posting about the fireball in the sky. Quite of few have seen it in Adelanto, CA (my daughters called me, they live in Adelanto). My daughter Dee seen it driving home from Victorville, CA to Apple Valley, CA. I just wished they’d recorded it

    Reply to Kim
  • Steve 4 weeks ago

    Saw one tonight before sunset in Cedarville NJ. Went east to west, and it was awesome with the sun going down.

    Reply to Steve
  • Alyssa Carey 4 weeks ago

    Saw a green fire ball fly over today while at work! I was amazed! I’ve never seen anything like it!!! Jenkintown Pa

    Reply to Alyssa
  • Dennis Arnold 4 weeks ago

    Around 4a.m. to 5a.m., two days last week I seen a “sphere” come from the west going east. I live in south New Jersey. Can anyone tell me what it was??? Again, this was in early morning hours .

    Reply to Dennis
    • Carl D 4 weeks ago

      This is probably the ISS? Look at the times it passes over for you. Mine are generally 5 or 6 am

      Reply to Carl
  • Ephriam Graves 4 weeks ago

    I saw it in Tempe Arizona I saw a shooting star and posted about it just checked and it was on the 10th of November

    Reply to Ephriam
  • Alyssa 4 weeks ago

    Hi im from michigan and literlly just seen something like this while driving home with my husband the sky turned bule green and then in a blink it was gone !! Hapoened around 6pm tonight

    Reply to Alyssa

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