Sky Lights Up

By: Elizabeth Donatelli
By: Elizabeth Donatelli

October 31, 2005

It may be Halloween, but it's not a spaceship. Experts think that bright light in the sky tonight may be a fireball.What you saw was probably a fireball, which is a bright meteor streaking across the sky. There are reports of gold and blue lights flashing in the sky around 9:00 pm.

Ed Murphy, an astronomer at UVa's students saw-it first hand at the astronomy lab.

He explained that his associates said it looked like a very bright light that was streaking across the sky. They did not see small chunks or pieces falling off which is common on the larger rocks that you will actually see small pieces come off and burn up themselves.

Fireballs themselves are simply a small chunk of rock or ice that are entering the earths atmosphere. They typically come from asteroids or comets in the solar system. There are billions of these things out there and many dozens of them actually enter the earth's atmosphere everyday.

The largest fireballs can be seen over hundreds of miles--one of the most famous one in recent times was in October 1992--where a rock actually crashed into a car.

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