A large meteor shot through the sky northeast of the District Monday evening around 8:25 p.m., to the amazement of scores of eyewitnesses in the region.
According the American Meteor Society, the fireball entered the atmosphere in southern New Jersey and zipped northwest bound into Lancaster County in southeast Pennsylvania.
“The fireball was seen from primarily Maryland, New Jersey and Virginia but witnesses from Washington DC, Connecticut and Pennsylvania also reported seeing the fireball,” the American Meteor Society says.
Many local Capital Weather Gang readers reported seeing the blaze. Here are a few accounts:
@capitalweather Yep, was standing in Tenleytown and saw a kinda greenish ball go low across the sky quickly from south to north
— Curtis Harris (@ProHoopsHistory) October 15, 2013
Debbie Grossman: My daughter and I saw it in Takoma Park! Traveling approx SE to NW. Really large and bright! fragments
Jim Schuyler: Here in Baltimore, confirmed sighting yes. Very bright fireball too. Pretty impressive.
Brian R. Hinman: Yes, I saw it in the north sky. Bright blue with pieces breaking off. Very impressive.
Brian Reitz: Yes lasted several seconds. Was east of DC heading north and broke up before it disappeared.
Crystal Benton Geller: I saw it while driving on South Riding around 8:30. It was green with a long white tail. It was very close!
Denise Marie Richards: Saw it in Reston. Quite impressive. It looked like a low firework flaring out.
A metaphor for broken political system?
Not surprisingly, some readers took the opportunity to connect the exploding space rock with D.C.’s fragmented political climate and the government shutdown:
Bruce W. Sutton: That would be John Boehner’s soul flaming out…
God almost had final say in govt shutdown RT @capitalweather: Have seen some reports of fireball/large meteor in DC area around 8:25 pm.
— Evan Lips (@evanmlips) October 15, 2013
@capitalweather That’s Obamacare exploding right before our eyes!
— Rita Jill Montes (@rjmontesLC) October 15, 2013
Someone check on Boehner RT @capitalweather: Have seen some reports of a fireball (large meteor) in DC area around 8:25 pm. Anyone see it?
— Maximus™ (@MaximusShelby) October 15, 2013
Fireball background information
Partisan gridlock or not, fireballs are not uncommon in the region. As recently as March 22, a vibrant fireball streaked through the evening sky dazzling hundreds of onlookers.
Here’s some useful background on the phenomena from the America Meteor Society:
A fireball is a meteor that is larger than normal. Most meteors are only the size of tiny pebbles. A meteor the size of a softball can produce light equivalent to the full moon for a short instant. The reason for this is the extreme velocity at which these objects strike the atmosphere. Even the slowest meteors are still traveling at 10 miles per SECOND, which is much faster than a speeding bullet. Fireballs occur every day over all parts of the Earth.
Read more here: Fireball frequently asked questions (American Meteor Society)