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
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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.
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.