Very bright fireball over Northeastern US, ground shaking reported

Very bright fireball over Northeastern US, ground shaking reported

A very bright fireball was observed over the Northeastern US at around 04:50 UTC on May 17, 2016. The event lasted between 3 and 8 seconds and was accompanied by fragmentation and sonic boom.

The American Meteor Society received 144 reports by 09:30 UTC.

The fireball was seen primarily from Maine, but witnesses from Vermont, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Ontario, Canada and Québec, Canada also reported the event.

People from Maine said their homes shook from the blast.

Based on witness reports and video footage, today's fireball was definitely a big one, said Mike Hankey, an operations manager at AMS. “It’s impossible to say (for certain) without better instruments or data or analysis, but it would be, I would estimate, at least the size of a car or minivan. Maybe bigger.”

"There was a 3 - 5 min delay from the time I saw it to the boom I heard and felt, very loud and shook the home. Unlike anything I have ever experienced before," a witness from Canton, ME reported to AMS.

Witness from Windsor, ME said: "I was driving and the sky suddenly started to brighten and I looked to my left sideview to see if a car was coming upon me when I saw the bright ball with a tail of white with a slight blue hue to it. It was gone so quickly. Amazing!" 

Julian K from Ontario, Canada said the giant ball of fire seemed extremely close going down below the treed horizon. "I waited a minute because I thought I’ll see fire erupting beyond the end of the lake but nothing…"

Witness location with observation directions. Credit: Google/AMS

Witness location heatmap. Credit: Google/AMS

Featured image: Fireball over Maine on May 17, 2016. Credit: Portland Maine Police Department

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sabrina woods 2 years ago

I live alabama and I seen it fall from the sky iv been tryin to find what it was and if any one else seen it to I was stating think I was seeing thing and to prove to my boyfriend all day I seen a big ball of light fall the sky he was shocked when I found this and showed him wow I never seen any thing like that ever in my life the is so awsome I hope it didn't hurt anyone. Was I the only one this far that seen it everyone else was a lot closer wow

Charity Woods 3 years ago

How close did this meteor get to the surface and does anyone have an idea about how large it was?

Byron B 3 years ago

I live in Sumner Maine and my whole home shook after this low growl started and then the sky light up with a huge booming rumble ... Heard it over the TV and stopped me dead in my tracks. Sounded like a bomb tearing the earth a new hole

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