Meteors hitting Earth’s atmosphere are a relatively common experience, but few are as powerful as one which exploded off the coast of Florida yesterday, April 12. The bright flash led to panic in the community as some assumed it was going to make contact with Earth.
Others believed the flash, which was so bright it lit up the night’s sky, was a plane crash.
Videos show the meteor entering the Earth’s atmosphere before gradually increasing in brightness over a matter of seconds.
It culminated in a massive burst of energy off the coast of energy which could be seen across the entire Sunshine State.
More than 230 people reported their sighting to the International Meteor Organisation (IMO).
Bambi wrote: “It looked so close and so beautiful with colours.
“It lasted so long I could grab my BF and spin him to see it. It was so big we thought it crashed and actually drove out to the ocean.”
Jennifer wrote: “I can not believe what I saw, I first thought it was a plane crashing in flames to the ground, I actually felt fear for a second.
“Realised it was a fireball, which I have never seen before.”
Austin stated: “I’ve never seen a shooting star or object that was this big, this bright, or looked this close to the Earth.
“I thought it was going to hit the my town [sic] and blow us all up.”
Xavier added: “I was driving on my way home from work when I noticed the bright light. It all happened in seconds.
“I thought it was a helicopter light so I quickly glanced over to be almost blinded by the flash.
“It was so beautiful. The different colours were jaw dropping. I was in total disbelief.”
Wanda said: “Looked like it was going to hit the horizon. I was looking for a fire to start on the ground in the distance.”
Meteors can produce such an intense burst of light as air – which they had not encountered before they hit Earth’s atmosphere – gets into the pores of the rocks, forcing them to explode.
The IMO said: “Fireballs are meteors that appear brighter than normal.
“Due to the velocity at which they strike the Earth’s atmosphere, fragments larger than one millimetre have the capability to produce a bright flash as they streak through the heavens above.
“These bright meteors are what we call fireballs and they often strike fear and awe for those who witness them.”