UPDATED: Fireball streaks across sky above greater Chattanooga area

UPDATED: Fireball streaks across sky above greater Chattanooga area

September 28th, 2013 by Staff Report in Local - Breaking News

POLL: Did you see the fireball?

Saturday evening, folks across several states reported seeing a fireball cross the southern sky around 7:30 p.m.

At the American Meteor Society's website, nearly 100 people who said they saw it explained where they were standing, which direction the fireball was going and in some cases, what it was like.

Angelique F., a poster from Millbrook, Ala., wrote, "This fireball resembled the size and altitude of a crop duster just over tall pine tree level but was made entirely of fire."

She said the fireball moved left to right as she was facing northeast.

A Gallatin, Tenn., poster said, "It was the largest and brighest fireball I have ever seen."

A flurry of Times Free Press readers responded to Facebook query Saturday to whether they had seen anything.

Conner Meredith wrote, "I saw it very clearly shoot all the way across the sky near Cherokee Blvd at Spring St. It looked like a small object on fire and moving very fast."

Ruth Kotouc saw the light in Hixson while at Starbucks.

Anne Hendrix wrote in, "My daughter and I saw it. It was going west to east, was greenish, and appeared to be low in the sky."

Sophia Ensley wrote that she saw it in East Brainerd.

Britni Brown wrote that her whole family saw the light.

Chris Naugle wrote, "My coworkers and I at the lifeguard ambulance station seen it. Kind of resembled a firework."

Lisa Glenfield-Miller wrote, "My 3 boys and I saw it....it was AMAZING!!!! [...] It was low, fast, heading west to east, directly over our road in Chickamauga about 7:30 p.m. [...] We were speechless...."

An unnamed writer said in Athens, Tenn., the fireball looked like "it was a jet on fire fallin."

Dr. Bill Cooke, a NASA meteor scientist, said in an email Saturday evening that preliminary information indicated a bit of space debris entered the Earth's atmosphere above northern Alabama, igniting a fiery trail through the sky.

He believed the meteoroid moved southeast, "finally burning up over Atlanta."

He said the only video available Saturday night was from a mobile phone, but based on that, he estimated the brightness of the meteor "to be similar to the crescent moon, which means the meteoroid was a few inches in diameter."

James Spann, a TV meteorologist in Birmingham, Ala., tweeted around 9 p.m., "Bill Cooke of NASA reports tonight's fireball is the 15th significant one this month - 'very unusual' in his words."