Experts believe that a large, explosive sound and fireball reported over Ontario and New York state Wednesday afternoon was likely caused by a meteor.
Denise Eighteen, a Port Dover resident, says she was driving towards Dover on Radical Road when she saw the light in the sky.
“I saw this huge fireball coming out of the sky, it was massive,” she said in a phone interview on Thursday. “It must have been going towards the lake because the tail was growing, and it was flaming.”
People in other areas, including Mississauga and Hamilton, also reported seeing the fireball. In Onondaga County, N.Y., there were reports of a large explosive sound being heard from above, Syracuse.com reported.
Eighteen said her husband, who was also in the vehicle with her, just caught the end of it and thought it might have been a blade flying off of a wind turbine.
“It was the most beautiful thing I’ve seen in my life, it was just breathtaking,” she said. “It was some sort of cool event in my life, it was special. I need to keep it in my mind’s eye for as long as I can.”
The Eighteen posted about the sighting in a Facebook group and received several messages from others saying they also spotted it around the county.
York University physics and astronomy professor Paul Delaney told 680 News the fireball was likely a meteor.
Delaney said the meteor would likely have to be fairly large in order to be seen in the sky midday. As a meteor enters the Earth’s atmosphere, it heats up, causing the air around it to glow.
Robert Lunsford of the American Meteor Society told Syracuse.com the large boom heard was likely caused by a sonic boom from the meteor. A sonic boom occurs when the meteor flies through the atmosphere, said Lunsford.
Lunsford said it’s uncommon to see a meteor in broad daylight, stating most rocks burn up while still high in the atmosphere.
“This must be a big one,” he said. “It has to be a pretty large size chunk of rock to survive.”
Delaney told 680 News there’s no risk of the meteorite causing a fire on the ground because it’s cooled off by the time it lands.
– With files from Ashley Taylor