Meteor Spotted Streaking Through Sky Over East Coast

Multiple reports of blue or green light streaking through sky

By Carissa DiMargo
|  Monday, Aug 12, 2013  |  Updated 3:27 PM EDT
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Social media sites were buzzing about a bright streak of light spotted over the East Coast Friday evening. Meteorologists have confirmed that the flash was in fact a meteor.

Multiple reports began coming in around 8 p.m. People spotted the streak of light in both Maryland and Virginia -- and as far north as New York and Maine. Many said it appeared to be blue or green.

"Judging from the brightness, we're dealing with something as bright as the full moon," Bill Cooke of NASA's Meteoroid Environmental Office said, NBC 4 New York reported. "The thing is probably a yard across. We basically have (had) a boulder enter the atmosphere over the northeast."

The meteor was traveling about 10 miles per second, much faster than even a speeding bullet.

While meteors are not rare and come through the Earth's atmosphere every day, this meteor was larger than usual, which is what made it much easier to see, NBC Washington meteorologist Doug Kammerer said. That's why it had such a dramatic light.

"We got more than 400 reports in less than an hour, which is unheard of," Mike Hankey, an amateur astronomer and Operations Manager at the American Meteor Society, told Philadelphia's NBC10.

On Twitter, @MisterNeek said, "[I] definitely witnessed what appeared to be a shooting star around 8 o clock, which then burst into a beaming red/green glow."

Karen Watson said on Twitter: "Yes, yes! Saw the meteor -- bright green -- in the sky over Kingstowne (Alexandria), Va."

"I live in the Croom area of Upper Marlboro and at approximately 7:55 this evening, I saw a rather large bright blue ball with what looked like a bright orange tail go soaring past our house.... It appeared to be just over the treetops,"  Jennifer Stymiest said.

Thomas Birchall said, "Meteor spotted streaking across the sky in Germantown, Md. It was greenish blue in color and could be seen disintegrating in the Gaithersburg direction."

The sighting comes five weeks after a meteor exploded over Chelyabinsk Oblast, Russia, injuring nearly 1,500 people and blowing out windows across the region.

Also in February, meteors were reported over the Bay Area and in Florida.

While it may seem like there's been an uptick in meteor sightings lately, Kammerer said it's more likely that the growth of social media has made reports of them more widely known.

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