• East coast residents marvel at Friday night meteor


    WALPOLE, Mass. (MyFoxBoston.com) -- Residents from Maine to Florida took to social media on Friday night after witnessing a meteor streak across the sky.

    Experts tell FOX 25's Crystal Haynes the meteor that many people on the east coast say they saw  included pieces of debris estimated to be about the size of a chair or file cabinet.

    One Walpole resident tells FOX 25 he thought it was a plane or a broken street light at first.

    "It first looked like a Roman candle, blues, and yellows," describes Andrew Casper.

    Casper saw a piece of meteor light up Friday's night sky in Walpole. He says he watched the meteor shoot across the sky about 30 degrees above the horizon.

    "It was just amazing," Casper recalls.

    Clay Center Observatory Astronomer Kelly Beatty says these type of meteors, technically called bolides, come around once every five years. Beatty says they are rarely as bright as the one witnessed on Friday.

    "It happened pretty high up. A lot of people think these things happen really close to the ground, but we're talking maybe 50 miles up in the atmosphere," Beatty explains. "The other thing is the meteor came in as a grazing path, not straight down, and that allowed it to be seen all up and down the east coast."

    Last month a large meteor exploded over southwestern Russia. The related flash and boom shattered glass in buildings and left about 1,000 people hurt. All the pieces from Friday's meteor likely landed in the Atlantic Ocean, but Beatty tells FOX 25 100 tons of space debris hits Earth everyday and we don't always see it.

    "This one happened so high up in the atmosphere that it just kinda burned out harmlessly. The one in Russia was a much, much bigger object, it penetrated more deeply in the atmosphere, and you know, when these things hit the atmosphere it's like hitting a brick wall," says Beatty.

    Beatty tells FOX 25 Friday night's meteor was traveling at a speed equivalent to traveling from Boston to New York in about 10 seconds.

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