(CBS4) – Coloradans as far west as Evergreen, as far north as Wellington, as far east as Bennet and as far south as Colorado Springs caught a incredible sight on their security cameras early Sunday morning. A fireball streaked across the sky at around 4:30 a.m.
By NASA’s definition, a fireball is an unusually bright meteor.
Josh Ellis in Evergreen shared videos of a bright flash lighting up his neighborhood. He said the light was bright enough to charge their solar lights.
Andrew Fisher, who lives in Wellington, caught it all on his Nest security camera. So did Doug Robinson and Kate Newberg of Boulder.
“Everything was pitch dark, and all of a sudden it lit up as if it was a brightly lit moon,” Robinson said.
As of Sunday afternoon, the American Meteor Society had received 41 reports about the fireball from across the Front Range. About 6 people described hearing a boom, one employee told CBS4.
“So, this means this was actually descending very deep,” said Chris Peterson, who works at the Cloudbait Observatory in Guffey. “10 or 20 miles may not seem very close to the ground, but when we think about typical burning stars, we’re seeing things that are burning up 60 to 70 miles high.”
The Cloudbait Observatory’s equipment also recorded the fireball streaking across the sky. Peterson, who also works as a research associate with the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, said the occurrence only happens once every few years over a single area.
“It’s unusual for such a large object,” Peterson said. “I’m guessing it was somewhere around the order of like a ton of rock, probably, that came in, so it’s a big chunk of stuff.”
Peterson said it’s likely the fireball was somewhere between the northern part of Park County and Boulder. Typically about 90 to 95 percent of the meteor will turn to dust. Pieces that do fall to the ground typically range from gravel-sized to baseball-sized, he said.
“Whether anything gets found or not remains to be seen, but there’s a good chance that there’s at least several pounds of material on the ground,” he said.
Peterson said this occurrence should be a reminder to look up once in a while.
“[It’s] an amazing little piece of nature that you should relish having seen.”
Erica Oosthoek shared her video from Wolf Ranch in Colorado Springs. Her camera faces north.
Shari Breckenfeld captured the phenomena from Loveland near the foothills.. Her camera faces south.
Cory Breider’s Nest camera faces west on the south end of Bennet.