The skies have been active in the NYC/NJ areas over the past several days. Multiple reports of a bright fireball were received on Sunday evening, from Vermont to New York. Observers reported the fireball “streaking through the sky, brightening and then dimming in only 10 seconds”. An additional fireball was reportedly seen on Monday night in much of the Northeast US including New York and New Jersey. Jersey Shore Hurricane News reader JP Dunne reported “I’m located in Oceanport, and it occurred directly south. Someone else had to see it.”\
Not surprisingly, the American Meteor Society has received hundreds of reports from both events — so we can almost certainly say that the events were not isolated or a hoax. The AMS uses a public submission form so that observers of meteors can submit their reports time, location, brightness and other information. You can view the reports from each event (and others throughout the United States over the past several days, weeks and months) at the AMS report page right here.
Most interestingly of all, the Sunday meteor had a little bit of luck involved. Ethan Rogati was taking long-exposure photographs of the sky in Vermont when the meteor flew directly through his field of view. The incredible photograph he captured is below. Although there have been a few meteors spotted in the Northeast US over the past few days, there is no meteor storm or shower currently occurring. Astronomers don’t anticipate a continued uptick in meteor activity.
Fireballs are large meteors which burn upon entry into the earths atmosphere. Depending on the size of the meteor, they can sometimes fall to the earths surface as small rocks or pebbles. But the meteors which are undetected or unwarned by astronomers typically burn up completely without any threat to earth — a testament to the protective nature of our atmosphere. What we get, instead, is a beautiful show for a brief moment in time as the meteor and its contents burn bright — creating a spectacle in the night sky.