Watch a meteor explode in a fireball illuminating the Florida sky

A lonely space rock suffered a terminal rupture.

NASA / JPL-Caltech

Hundreds of eyewitnesses in Florida, from Jacksonville to Miami, as well as the Bahamas reported a dramatic sight Monday night: a meteor shot through the sky like a glowing fireball and then exploded, appearing to brighten the night sky for a fraction of a second.

Fireballs are seen somewhere around the world almost every night, but this was literally a blast, as some videos from the event show:

In the above footage from a security camera in a Miami home, an eyewitness is shocked to see something falling from the sky, accompanied by a sound like thunder. The sound can be the result of a shock wave from the car falling apart or a sonic thump hitting the atmosphere at high speed.

The American Meteor Society collected more than 200 eyewitness accounts, including several dozen that indicated they also heard a noise.

Reports that this fireball was somehow related to the Near-Earth asteroid 2021 GW4 that gave the earth a good pass this week are far away, for the record. That asteroid passed overhead at an altitude of more than 9,000 miles, while this fireball and similar fireball typically start to burn at the top of the atmosphere, which is closer to about 60 miles high.

There are no reports of meteorites reaching the ground in Florida so far.

The American Meteor Society estimates that the flaming space rock likely traveled from south to north across the Atlantic Ocean between Florida and the Bahamas, so whatever survived it likely cools at the bottom of the sea.

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