An unidentified object from outer space has been spotted shooting across the Los Angeles night sky on Wednesday and residents have been sharing footage of the bright light on social media.
Several locals reported seeing the blazing trail, claiming it was either a meteor, a fireball, or a “crazy looking shooting star.”
The exact origin of the latest sighting has yet to be confirmed. Any matter illuminating on entry to Earth’s atmosphere is considered a meteor. Asteroids are smaller matter orbiting the Sun.
“We have about 60 reports so far [of the sighting] and a trajectory estimate,” Mike Hankey, a software developer and meteor observer at the American Meteor Society (AMS), told Newsweek. “We also caught it on one of our meteor camera stations outside of Los Angeles. From the video and also the report we can tell this was most likely NOT a natural fireball meteor. It appears to be ‘space-trash’, a man-made object re-entry of some type. We are not sure what the object is yet, but this information will probably come out soon.”
Many residents in Southern California shared videos of the recent sighting on social media using the hashtag #meteor, which trended on Twitter.
“Meteor over Los Angeles, taken in the Mission Hills/San Fernando Valley area of LA. I got the last 13 seconds of at least a 20 second shooting star #meteor #LAmeteor #LosAngeles #LA #ShootingStar,” wrote @StanMoroncini.
“I saw this massive meteor earlier tonight it seemed to fall for a long time and was so amazing to see #meteor,” wrote @ColourMeMineBty.
“Y’ALL I was really thinking it was the end of the world…. This thing was huge #meteor,” wrote @badddgalkeke.
“Saw the most crazy meteor I’ve ever seen!! It blew into pieces and burned up in the atmosphere!! Oh My Lanta that was SO COOL!!!!! And I caught the end on camera!! #meteor,” wrote @summerrabel.
“Residents in Southern California were treated to a meteor last night. The fireball streaked across the night sky & then broke into several pieces. #meteor #Fireball #ThursdayThoughts,” wrote @MariettaDaviz.
The bright trail was also reported to be seen from San Diego. “I saw the same meteor here in San Diego. That was so dope! Didn’t tell anyone to don’t look crazy #meteor,” wrote user @mathbjj.
“My boyfriend caught this video of the meteor shower in california and wanted me to post it!! #meteor #SanDiego,” wrote @renfriiiii.
“The majority of visible meteors are caused by particles ranging in size from about that of a small pebble down to a grain of sand, and generally weigh less than 1-2 grams,” the AMS explains. “The brilliant flash of light from a meteor is not caused so much by the meteoroid’s mass, but by its high level of kinetic energy as it collides with the atmosphere.”
In November, a mysterious “large fireball falling to the earth” was spotted in Salem, Oregon. The incident was first reported as a plane crash, but the Federal Aviation Administration did not report any plane crashes in the area at the time. The AMS and the CNEOS also did not report fireballs in the area. In July, a large fireball was also spotted flashing across the South Florida sky and was reported to be space debris by the AMS, WPTV reported.
Newsweek contacted NASA’s Center for Near Earth Object Studies (CNEOS) for further comment on the latest incident.
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