A bright ball of fire was seen flashing across the sky over Puerto Rico at 21:27 UTC (17:27 local time) on Friday, January 17, 2020. Some of the residents reported loud noise associated with the event.
The American Meteor Society (AMS) receiver 31 reports from Aguadilla, Aibonito, Bayamón, Caguas, Camuy, Canóvanas, Carolina, Fajardo, Guaynabo, Isabela, Loíza, Manatí, San Juan, Santa Isabel, St. John and St. Thomas.
Shortly after the event, people who spotted and captured the meteor started sharing photos and videos on social media platforms. Most of the images were posted from the San Juan area, but other people in various parts of the U.S. territory also reported seeing it.
Eddie Irizarry, an astronomy professor in Puerto Rico and vice president of the Caribbean Astronomy Society, said he also got reports of the meteor from all over the island.
Irizarry noted that the fireball was visible for up to 10 seconds and based on its smoke trail, it could be at least a couple of feet in length.
Puerto Rico daylight fireball heatmap -- January 17, 2020. Credit: AMS
One local in the northern area said he thought the fireball was a plane in distress when he first saw it. "It was a loud noise. I see this ball of fire, very fast and very big, and I said, ‘Wow, that can’t be a plane because it’s going too fast."
Me enviaron esta foto pic.twitter.com/KhAzBzuouK— Karlita Luna-Joglar (@Luna_diaries) January 17, 2020
Puerto Rico Meteor just came soaring out the sky. There’s definitely some alien things going on over there pic.twitter.com/7pojazRRzY— Josh (@joshuakardash) January 18, 2020
Estoy aquí admirando la vista, tomando fotos como de costumbre y tiro una foto, thank God que fue Live Photo y capture este meteorito . pic.twitter.com/UREFQVvARQ— LOUI (@LouisVtweeter) January 17, 2020
Featured image credit: @Luna_diaries/Twitter