Fireball flies over Chatham-Kent sky

February 26, 2021 fireball (Screen capture via fireballs.ndc.nasa.gov)

If you witnessed a bright light flash across the sky Friday night in Chatham-Kent, you weren’t imagining things.

A fireball passed over the region around 10:07 p.m.

Peter Brown, a Western University professor, meteor scientist and planetary astronomer tweeted a video of the event. Brown described it as being “as bright as [the] full Moon.”

According to the NASA All Sky Fireball Network, observers in Ontario, Michigan, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania reported seeing a bright fireball in the sky on Friday evening. The event was captured by several all-sky meteor cameras belonging to the NASA All Sky Fireball Network and the Southern Ontario Meteor Network operated by Western University.

According to NASA, an initial analysis of the video shows that the meteor appears 90 km above Erieau on the northern shore of Lake Erie. It moved northwest at a speed of 105,800 km per hour as it crossed the Canada-U.S. border before ending 32 km above Fair Haven, MI.

“At its brightest, the fireball rivalled the quarter Moon in intensity,” read a statement on the NASA All Sky Fireball Network. “Combining this with the speed gives the fragment a mass of at least 2 kilograms and a diameter of approximately 12 centimetres.”

It’s believed that the meteor was caused by a fragment of a Jupiter family comet although an asteroidal origin is also possible.