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Possible meteor sighting over GTA skies

GTA residents took to social media Sunday after reportedly hearing a loud bang and seeing a flaming object streak across the sky.

A person in Oakville reported seeing the object around 4:15 p.m. Sunday.

Others spotted something as far east as Whitby and as far north as Newmarket.

Peterborough police have received several calls describing some type of explosion and houses shaking in the aftermath.

The American Meteor Society lists 22 reports, ranging from New York and New Jersey to St. Catherines and Caledon, of a fire ball spotted.

Click here for the American Meteor Society website.

Peter Brown, a professor at the University of Western Ontario who studies meteors and meteorites, says the widespread eyewitness reports and images are consistent with a meteor.

There is no official word on what the item was or when, and where, it may have touched down.

Watch amateur video below:

Most of the equipment the university has to track meteors was not in operation Sunday afternoon, but a series of microphones the university has in place did detect a shockwave, Brown said.

Based on the data and the eyewitness reports it appears the shockwave occurred in the area of Peterborough and its characteristics allowed for an estimate of the size of the meteor, said Brown.

”The energy is somewhere in the order of a few tens of tons of TNT explosive equivalent,” he said in an interview Sunday night. “That would translate into something on the order of half to one metre in diameter and that’s going to be a mass of ….a few metric tons.”

It’s possible some fragments hit the ground, Brown added.

”This clearly was a pretty massive event, lots of mass, so on that basis alone I think we have a pretty good chance that meteorites would make it to the ground,” he said.

The odds of fragments hitting the ground depend on how fast the meteor was travelling — a relatively slow moving fireball would make it more likely that some meteorites may be found.

“It would not surprise me if meteorites are found,” Brown said.

The annual Eta Aquarids meteor shower is expected to peak this week. There is no official word if Sunday’s sighting is part of that annual shower.

The meteors seen in the Eta Aquarids shower are pieces of Halley’s Comet that separated hundreds of years ago.

Did you see something? Tell us in the comments.

With files from The Canadian Press