What appeared to be a big, bright meteor streaked across the skies Friday night, prompting astonished reports from much of the East Coast and from all over the Washington region.

The fireball appeared about 8 p.m., and witnesses emphasized its impressive size.

“Larger than anything I’ve seen,” said a report from Chestertown, Md., to the American Meteor Society’s Web site. An account from Hancock, Md., said it was “very close and very large.” Someone in Columbia told the society that it was “the largest object I have ever seen.”

The size seemed to suggest to many observers that the light came from nearby. “I’ve never seen a meteor this close,” said a report from Towson, Md.

A Silver Spring man, Anthony J. Agby Jr., said he was in the Foggy Bottom area of the District when it blazed from west to east, just above the building line, green and white and teardrop shaped.

An account from Bethesda called it “amazing.” Others called the sight unparalleled.

Meteors are glowing streaks of light created when small chunks of space debris burn as they pass through Earth’s atmosphere. Larger chunks are called “fireballs.”

In Tokyo, Dirk Ross, who operates a Web site devoted to meteor sightings, said by telephone that the length of time it remained visible suggested that it could have been unusually large, perhaps even a small asteroid.