Fire in the Jersey Sky Revealed

Chopper 10 a witness to bright falling star

By Teresa Masterson
|  Tuesday, Jan 19, 2010  |  Updated 6:06 PM EDT
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Fire in the Sky in Jersey

NBC Philadelphia

A meteor over South Jersey was caught on tape by Chopper 10 Monday night

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Fire in the Sky in Jersey

A bright, burning light streaked across our local skies Monday and Chopper 10 got it on tape.
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A bright, burning light streaked across our local skies at sunset Monday, and quite a few people took notice.

“There was a little flaming ball, it came down and was going straight down to earth,” said a Chopper 10 pilot who saw the beautiful display and actually got the images on camera.

“What it appears to be is a meteor,” said Dr. Joseph Sowers, adjunct professor of astronomy at Richard Stockton College in Galloway Township, after seeing the images from Chopper 10.

The piece of burning space crust was traveling at close to 25 miles per second.  And though it created a bright light and inspired a big fuss, the flaming rock was only a pebble -- only a few centimeters wide.

According to Sowers, there are thousands meteors in the area every night -- but most are too small to notice. Most are the size of sand grains, said Sowers.

More often than not, meteors will completely vaporize in the atmosphere before they have a chance to hit the ground, Sowers said.

It’s more common to see meteors after midnight, according to Sowers, rather than at dusk, when the sparkler came through our skies.
 

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