Wow! Bright, green fireball lights up the night sky in southwest Virginia

Video outside Sycamore Baptist Church shows the moment a fireball entered the earth’s atmosphere Wednesday night

STUART, Va. – While the SpaceX rocket launch was faintly visible to some in southwest Virginia Wednesday night, there was something else that really lit up the early night sky.

We broke it down in the short video you see below on Virginia Today.

This long exposure photo (below) shows the SpaceX rocket, the fireball and the rocket’s first phase re-entry looking out from Fancy Gap.

SpaceX rocket and fireball seen at the same time Wednesday night Photo: Mike Coleman - Fancy Gap (Copyright 2021 by WSLS 10 - All rights reserved.)

Coleman also sent 10 News video of the fireball.

Watch the full video below from Sycamore Baptist Church in Stuart.

Hundreds of reports of a fireball have been logged with the American Meteor Society. These reports range from as far south as South Carolina to as far north as Long Island.

Reports of a fireball from South Carolina to Long Island Wednesday night

According to the American Meteor Society, a fireball is a meteor that is brighter than the planet Venus in the night sky.

A guide to meteor terminology from the American Meteor Society (American Meteor Society)

NASA’s Meteor Watch posted to Facebook that the 45-pound fireball burned up over Greenville, North Carolina. It was moving at about 33,000 miles-per-hour.

Bright fireball seen over North Carolina Wednesday night (November 10) at just past 9 PM Eastern. OK, now that I have...

Posted by NASA Meteor Watch on Wednesday, November 10, 2021

In addition, Tony Rice, an ambassador to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory hypothesizes that this wasn’t space junk re-entering the earth’s atmosphere. However, he says it was actually space rock. The above post from NASA Meteor Watch confirms it to be of “asteroidal origin.”

The American Meteor Society says, “Several thousand meteors of fireball magnitude occur in the Earth’s atmosphere each day. The vast majority of these, however, occur over the oceans and uninhabited regions, and a good many are masked by daylight.”

Actually observing a fireball this bright, however, is quite rare for even experienced observers.

About the Author:

Meteorologist Chris Michaels is an American Meteorological Society (AMS) Certified Broadcaster, forecasting weather conditions in southwest Virginia on WSLS 10 News from 5 a.m. to 7 a.m. weekdays on Virginia Today.