Mike Hankey of the American Meteor Society has put together a map showing the extent to which Friday’s dramatic meteor was seen along the U.S. East Coast. The boulder-sized fireball, which got as bright as the full moon, was seen all the way from South Carolina to Maine.
The lone meteor was first seen around 8:00 PM EST on Friday, prompting a flurry of tweets. The American Meteor Society was then inundated with over 500 reports of sightings, most of them spanning the U.S. East Coast. Some reports even came in from Canada.
The AP reports:
Matt Moore, a news editor with The Associated Press, said he was standing in line for a concert in Philadelphia around dusk when he saw “a brilliant flash moving across the sky at a very brisk pace… and utterly silent.”
“It was clearly high up in the atmosphere,” he said. “But from the way it appeared, it looked like a plane preparing to land at the airport.”
Moore said the flash was visible to him for about two to three seconds, and then it was gone. He described it as having a “spherical shape and yellowish and you could tell it was burning, with the trail that it left behind.”
Derrick Pitts, chief astronomer at Philadelphia’s Franklin Institute, agreed that the sightings had all the hallmarks of a “fireball.”
The object itself was relatively tiny, about three feet in width. It never posed any kind of threat.
Here's a higher resolution "heat map" of the sightings:
Hankey also put together an estimated trajectory model for the meteor. This model is calculated by computing the intersection points of each witness with all other witnesses. These points are then averaged for the starting and ending points of the meteor.
All images via American Meteor Society.