A meteor lit up the Florida sky for brief moments before exploding into tiny pieces. The giant fireball began its descend above the state’s west coast soon after dark. A number of panicking citizens grabbed the phone and immediately alerted the North Port Police Department. Upon answering the multiple calls, police officers found themselves investigating what at first looked like a UFO threat.
Numerous individuals even considered that a UFO invasion might take place. Fortunately, there was no reason for such concerns. The locals were only seeing a harmless meteorite bursting into flames upon entering the Earth’s atmosphere.
American Meteor Society’s Report
According to a group of individuals with the American Meteor Society, approximately 150 Florida residents saw the meteorite dropping to Earth. They were mainly stationed south of Florida Panhandle, in Key West. The mystery of the unidentified object revolved around its unusual brightness, in particular.
The incident was also captured by some dashcams. One recording comes straight from the North Port Police Department (NPPD) itself. NPPD uploaded the footage on the official police station’s Facebook page, only moments after the event. The police officers on duty who captured the images were lightheartedly joking about the likelihood of an alien encounter.
NASA Official Report
The video featured on the official NPPD Facebook page currently has over 80,000 views. Multiple users are joking about the whole incident. However, many others believe that a transformer blew up in the area, causing the bright flash. Among them was also a police officer with the NPPD. Although, upon closely inspecting the footage several times, he changed his mind.
The Marshall Space Center in Huntsville, Alabama, one of many NASA facilities issued an official report on the matter. The bright object was nothing but a baseball-sized meteorite traveling at speeds exceeding 40,000. The official name of this kind of meteor is bolide, according to NASA. On November 21st, 2016, the bolide entered the Earth atmosphere around 11:18 p.m. It burst into flames shortly after, due to the atmosphere’s effect on fast-traveling objects.
Scientists say that they have also identified the cause of the bright flash. Upon re-entry, the celestial object experienced rapid evaporation of carbon dioxide and ice.
“The meteor began 46 miles above the Gulf of Mexico and 8 miles from Sarasote”, says Bill Cooke. He is the manager of the Meteoroid Environments Office.
Another occurrence much like this one took place several years ago, back in 2013. However, one major difference consists in the larger sizes of the rock which exploded over Chelyabinsk, Russia. The celestial object was, in fact, a superbolide with a total mass of approximately 13,000 metric tons.
The explosion which following the re-entry was estimated to have a kinetic energy equal to roughly 30 atomic bombs. Even though nobody was seriously injured in the incident, several buildings in Chelyabinsk suffered substantial damage.
The Florida meteor exploded roughly 15 miles above the Earth. Also, apart from the scare, the incident was harmless. Furthermore, NASA experts also say that this is nothing new. Hence, Florida citizens should get used to these events.
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