Meteor captured on camera over parts of Pennsylvania, South Jersey

Thursday, April 11, 2024
Meteor captured on camera over parts of Pennsylvania, South Jersey
Meteor captured on camera over parts of Pennsylvania, South Jersey

POTTSTOWN, Montgomery County (WPVI) -- It's a bird, it's a plane, or maybe it's a meteor?

The bright flash could be seen in the sky across the region Wednesday morning -- from Margate, NJ to Pottstown, Pa.

"We were looking at the footage and we saw a big bright light," recalled Bruce Snyder, of North Coventry Township.

He was checking up on his outdoor cats, but instead saw the fireball falling in the sky in his porch camera facing south.

"As it went through the sky we saw a flash at the end. So I don't know if that was it bursting up," said Snyder.

Action News took several videos sent in by viewers to Amy Barraclough, the director of the Edelman Planetarium at Rowan University.

"That bright flash at the end of these videos is most likely that meteor disintegrating," she said, adding that all the cameras likely captured different angles of the same meteor.

"I would agree that is a very bright meteor that we would call a bolide or a fireball," said Barraclough. "As it's falling through Earth's atmosphere, it's interacting with the oxygen that we have in our own atmosphere, and it's causing that beautiful green color that you see in all of those videos."

She says we will likely see more shows in the sky as there are several meteor showers visible in our area coming up over the next month or two.

"One of them that's officially starting on April 15, the Lyrid meteor shower is known for its bright fireballs," she said. "It does help to excite people about this form of science and want to learn more and experience more."

And if anyone out there finds this alarming, Barraclough says it is extremely rare that a meteor would actually make it to the Earth's surface.

"They're speeding through the atmosphere at thousands of miles per hour and ionizing and burning up in that atmosphere long before they ever make it to the ground," said Barraclough.

The fireball has been reported to the American Meteor Society, which will research what it is and where it came from. It's listed as pending.