FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – Sunday night, residents across South Florida who were looking up at the sky may have seen something quite different, a light show provided by a meteor hitting the Earth’s atmosphere.
“What was saw last night was a fireball, something hitting our Earth, hitting the top of our atmosphere and causing a wonderful light show for us here in South Florida,” said Susan Barnett from the Buehler Planetarium at Broward College.
The object that caused the streaking lights over South Florida was the same phenomenon that lit up the skies over Russia last week. It’s just the one over South Florida was much, much smaller, roughly the size of a golf ball. The meteor never got near the earth while it was still intact.
“Most objects from space, when they hit the earth, are coming in at some kind of angle,” said Barnett. “So what we saw last night probably wasn’t big enough to reach the earth. It probably burned up completely high in the atmosphere.”
As it turns out, meteors are not that rare of a phenomenon for the Earth. The typically small objects are flying at the planet all the time, it’s just most of the time they’re not seen.
“Earth is like a cosmic shooting gallery,” Barnett said. “We’re getting hit with stuff from space every single day. As a matter of fact, we figured a hundred tons of material hits the top of the Earth’s atmosphere. Most of it burns up.”