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What Is A “Fireball Meteor”

A large fireball meteor occurred around 7:20pm Friday and was visible across several states.

Large fireball meteors are common this time of year and are associated with the Taurid Meteor Shower which tends to peak from November 5-12th. The meteors can usually be spotted in the Taurus constellation with a northern component from asteroid remnants and the southern component from debris from Comet Encke.

Most meteor showers consist of meteors or “shooting stars” that are only the size of a grain of sand. The Taurid meteor shower consists of stones likely the size of pebble which burn up in the atmosphere producing incredible brightness. They’re referred to as “fireballs”.

The pebbles are travelling around 62,000mph and quickly burn up into the atmosphere. If the meteor appears of brighter magnitude than the planet Venus it’s referred to as a “fireball” if it’s brighter and appears to explode in the atmosphere, it’s referred to as a “bollide”.

The greenish color of tonight’s meteor was likely due to traces of copper, a blue green hue often indicates methane. There’s a possibility there was a trace of both.

Keep an eye on the sky, the peak of this meteor shower hits next week, you might see a few more!

-Garrett