TALLADEGA, Ala. (WSFA) - There were many reports of a mysterious bright greenish-blue object streaking across the Alabama sky just before 6 p.m. on Sunday. Turns out it was a very bright meteor -- often referred to simply as a fireball.
The fireball wasn’t just spotted in Central Alabama; it was seen at multiple locations across Alabama, Georgia, the Carolinas, and Tennessee.
It was even seen a time or two as far away as Kentucky, Virginia and Florida!
According to reports submitted to the American Meteor Society, it was seen burning up in Earth’s atmosphere near Birmingham, Montgomery, Huntsville, Auburn, and Troy just to name a few Alabama cities.
The most concentrated area of reports came in from around Atlanta, Georgia. That’s likely due to the amount of people there that could have witnessed it.
The actual path of the bright meteor was just east of Birmingham.
The starting point of its path was roughly the meeting point of Calhoun, Cherokee and Etowah counties east of Gadsden. It traveled southwest and ended its path at the intersection of U.S. 431 and AL-144 near Alexandria, Ohatchee and Wellington. That’s just north of I-20 and the Anniston/Oxford area.
The “Geometric Impact Point” of the fireball is between downtown Talladega and I-20 in northern Talladega County. That’s essentially where the meteor would have struck Earth’s surface if it survived burning up in the lower atmosphere.
While not likely, it’s possible that small pieces or fragments -- referred to as meteorites -- made it to the surface. These are very rare and can be worth a significant amount of money if confirmed as legitimate.
So...was this a crazy or super rare thing?
Eh, not really. Fireballs happen all the time across the entire planet. As of November 3rd, the American Meteor Society has documented over 6,200 fireball “events" in 2020 alone.
It is a bit more on the rare side to have an exceptionally bright meteor zip across the night sky in your home state. It’s even rarer to document it as these fireballs are only visible for a matter of seconds at most. And unfortunately, there’s no way to really predict them to prepare your phones and cameras.