It was movie night in one Washington neighborhood on Tuesday, but for a few moments the show was both on the screen and in the heavens as a bright light flashed across the skies.
What appeared to be a meteor streaked through the Washington firmament 10 p.m. on Tuesday, and based on the reports of witnesses, it was seen over an expanse that stretched at least as far west as Loudoun County in Virginia and as far east as the shores of the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland.
From accounts of witnesses including at least one who was in Walter Pierce Park in the District, where Adams Morgan movie night was held, the brilliant light that sped across the blackness of the night rewarded those who momentarily or habitually, are the ones who manage to look up.
“A flash caught my eye,” said Emily Bouck who was in Arlington. When she turned, she said, it was “to see a large, neon green slow moving meteor.”
It lit the night sky, she said. It was unexpected, but it was a “neat sight to see.”
Meteors, or shooting stars, as they are sometimes called, are pieces of debris from somewhere in the cosmos that find their way into the atmosphere.
After traveling unimpeded through the cold and and empty interplanetary reaches, they encounter the increasing density of the earth’s atmosphere, and the friction of their passage makes them glow and burn.
Those fortunate enough to see the heavenly fire are witnesses to the final moments of what has been a long a voyage across the darkness of space.
Kristen Page-Kirby saw it from Deale, Md., on the shores of the Chesapeake.
Ian Janetta saw not only the charracteristic streak of light, but also eventual destruction of the chunk of matter that came from afar.
It looked, he said, like “a very bright meteor, which broke apart into many pieces before disintegrating and disappearing
“It was bright orange in color, with streaks of gold and green when it broke apart.”
In the Ashburn area of Loudoun County, John Carbonara was leaving a function at Lost Rhino’s Retreat.
Something caught his eye, he said, something reminiscent perhaps of the light on an airplane.
Then, he said, he saw “something large and flaming.
“It looked like it was breaking up,” he said, leaving a trail of sparks.
It streaked behind a house, and then it vanished.
He had seen typical shooting stars, he said, but they were not like this. This, he said, “was far larger.”
In the District, someone attending the movie night in Adams Morgan was also impressed, and took to Twitter to comment.
“Just saw an incredible streak across the sky,” he said.
By coincidence, the full title of the movie billed for Tuesday night showing was “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” and the audience member did not fail to note the appropriateness of the off screen sight. Of the spectacular meteor, the Tweet said:”Fitting for Star Wars.”