Loading articles...

GTA residents report meteor sighting following 'fire ball' across sky

Last Updated Dec 2, 2020 at 7:44 pm EST

Strange happenings were seen in the skies over the GTA on Wednesday.

A few CityNews viewers emailed to report seeing a fire-ball in the sky. Some lived in Durham region, with others from out in Mississauga. Reports also came in from Bowmanville, Hamilton and Brooklin, Ontario.

The American Meteor Society logged 44 fireball reports from across the U.S. including Virginia, Michigan, Maryland, Ohio, and New York.

Paul Delaney, a physics and astronomy professor at York University, tells 680 NEWS it likely was a meteor.

“To be able to see something that bright in the middle of the day, we are talking about a fairly large object – a baseball size, maybe a little bit larger – hitting the Earth’s atmosphere at literally many tens of kilometres a second,” said Delaney. “Streaking through the sky, becoming very hot, quite hot, becoming incandescent.”

Delaney says when a meteoroid enters the Earth’s atmosphere and vaporizes, it is then called a meteor or shooting star. The meteor heats up and makes the air around it glow.

If a meteor survives and makes it through the Earth’s atmosphere to land on the Earth’s surface, it is then labelled a meteorite.

Delaney says there is no risk of the object causing a fire on the ground because it’s cooled off by then.

“These sorts of things we often see at night much more easily, because of course the sun is out of the way, but to be able to see them during the day, it may very well be an early meteor from the Geminid meteor shower which peaks on Dec. 14,” he added.

The Geminid meteor shower is expected to peak in 2020 on the night of Dec. 13 or 14. Astronomers and other experts say on that date, you could see a decent spattering of meteors on the preceding nights (Dec. 11-12 and Dec. 12-13) as well.

With files from Dilshad Burman