Meteor sighting

Source: Star Pulse

If you saw a fireball streaking across the skies of Georgia and other parts of the Southeast Thursday night, you’re not alone. NASA confirmed meteor sightings near Atlanta and other parts of southern states. No, it’s not Doomsday, the end of the world, and it wasn’t a UFO or signs of extraterrestrial visitors.

According to an 11 Alive story, NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) said six of its ALL Sky Fireball Network cameras detected the meteor about 6:33 p.m. Reports of sightings came in from Georgia residents and motorists near Henry County.

NASA Meteoroid Environments Office spokesperson, Bill Cooke, said the meteor spotted over Georgia traveled about 50 miles above McDonough, a town located south and east of Atlanta.

“From its brightness, it is estimated that this piece of an asteroid weighed at least 150 pounds and was over 16 inches in diameter.”

Cameras trained on the meteor tracked it as it descended to about 17 miles above the Earth’s surface near Locust Grove. Then, it vanished from view.

Cooke said it likely that it burned up after entering the planet’s atmosphere at 29,000 miles per hour. As such, there may be fragments strewn about that survived and impacted the ground. At this time, there are no reports of injury or property damage.

Because the Geminid meteor shower, peaked Sunday and is the last and strongest shower the year, some speculate Thursday’s meteor fireball could be related.

Scientists believe the meteor showers are increasing in intensity with each occurrence. Data studies show that one possible explanation is the shifts in the gravitational pulls of Saturn and Jupiter. It’s believed the field has brought denser streams of space rocks closer to Earth’s orbit, according to GPB News.

Visibility occurs from December 4-17, and typically, the peak Geminid cosmic event lasts from December 13-17. However, the American Meteor Society reported nearly a dozen sightings on Tuesday.

It’s unclear if the meteor sighting in Georgia was a late arrival or rogue space body. However, it’s far too small to be the so-called Christmas Eve asteroid, as previously reported by Starpulse.

Fun facts about meteors: Meteors are bits of rocks and ice ejected from comets as they move in their orbits about the sun. On any given day, there are 12,000 meteors hitting Earth about the size of a grain of dust.