Monday night fireball meteor that streaked across Arkansas sky seen from nine states

Getty Images / Earth from space tile
Getty Images / Earth from space tile

Residents across nine states Monday reported sightings of a meteor that is thought to have entered Earth's atmosphere somewhere over the Little Rock metropolitan area and disintegrated over the Ouachita Mountains.

Videos posted online after the meteor disintegrated showed the fireball entering the atmosphere with a yellow and green hue before flashing two to three times as it spanned across the sky.

Some users online said they assumed the flashing, bright light could be explained as lightning nearby.

Other residents described a bang-like sound so loud that they thought someone was breaking into their vehicles.

KATV and Fox 16 meteorologist Joel Young said, "What we saw last night was called a Bolide Meteor. Basically, that's just an exceptionally bright meteor."

Young added that the "exceptionally bright" manner of these fireballs can be caused by natural friction that the meteor experiences as it enters the atmosphere.

The first reported sighting of the fireball was made to the American Meteor Society just after 7 p.m. Monday night from an individual in Louisiana.

Officials with the National Weather Service office in North Little Rock said, "We're honestly in the same boat as everyone else. This meteor couldn't be seen on any of the radars we have, and we've just been looking at the cool videos online."

In an interview with the Democrat-Gazette, Stillwater, Okla., resident Anitra Novy said, "I saw the meteor last night and thought someone had shot off a Roman candle firework. I didn't learn until this morning that the green light I saw was a meteor and that it had been far away, in Arkansas."

A total of 98 reports were made to the Meteor Society from residents in Alabama, Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas.

Arkansas Sky, the official account for the Arkansas Skydome Planetarium, took to Twitter on Monday to explain what people had seen in the sky.

Following the meteor, they tweeted: "The green color of tonight's meteor was likely caused by either the air glow of highly ionized atmospheric oxygen created as the meteor plowed through the atmosphere or the burning of copper within the meteor itself."

The account also urged residents to report their sightings and details of the fireball to the American Meteor Society "so scientists can get a trajectory, origin and possible location of any falls."

As of early Tuesday, Young highlighted that there are no known reports of the meteor hitting the ground.

Young added that this fireball has been described as a meteor -- not a meteorite -- because it did not hit the ground.

"It's believed to have disintegrated somewhere over the Ouachitas, somewhere between Jessieville and Danville," Young said. "This one in particular did not reach the ground, to my knowledge."

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