'Fireball' sightings over Nova Scotia

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A bright light is captured by Nova Scotia Webcams' near the Masstown Market March 18. 

By Darrell Cole

TC•Media

AMHERST – Scott Miller got quite a surprise early Tuesday when he looked out his window overlooking Baie Verte and the Northumberland Strait.

He was one of several thousand Maritimers to see a fireball streaking out of the sky at approximately 5 a.m.

“I look out the window at my neighbour’s and out onto the bay when all of  a sudden I saw this bright light falling out of the sky,” Miller said. “It was like a giant fireball, it was yellowish, orange in colour and it was bright. It was moving really fast.”

The origin of the fireball is unknown, but astronomers are saying it was likely a meteor that entered the Earth’s atmosphere. Miller said he has seen plenty of meteors before, but this one was different because instead moving across the sky it was headed straight down.

“To me, it looked like it landed around Port Elgin, but I heard on the radio that people all along the strait saw it,”  Miller said.

Rick Parker, who lives on Mattatall Lake near Wentworth, said the brightness of the meteor woke him up.

“It lit up the whole sky it was that bright, it lit up my bedroom,” said Parker. “I looked out the window and saw it falling into the north horizon, like it fell out of the sky on the Northumberland Strait or P.E.I.”

Parker said the light only lasted a few seconds and at first he thought it might have been a search and rescue flare until he realized how fast it was moving.

“I’ve seen meteors before, but this was much brighter,” said Parker.

There has been speculation that what was seen might have been the International Space Station passing overhead. NASA said the station had to dodge a piece of space junk that was in its orbit on Sunday. The Associated Press reported the space station fired its thrusters to avoid the debris.

Parker doesn’t think that was the case.

“I’ve seen the space station before, this wasn’t the space station. It was way too bright for it to be that,” he said.

Several webcams, including one at the Masstown Market near Truro captured the fireball as it fell out of the sky.

Parker said he saw the webcam footage, but added it doesn’t do justice to what he saw.

“To see it with the naked eye was incredible,” Parker said. “It’s almost indescribable.”

People have reported seeing the fireball throughout the Maritimes, from Cape Breton, to the Annapolis Valley, to northern Nova Scotia, eastern New Brunswick and the Gaspe region of Quebec

Police in Nova Scotia did receive a report of ‘fireball’ in the sky early Tuesday morning.

“We don’t know. It’s a mystery,” quipped RCMP spokesman Cpl. Al LeBlanc, when asked what the RCMP knew about it. He said a call came in from the Chester area at 5:09 a.m.

“It appeared to be a yellow flare,” he said.

Callers to CBC Radio on Tuesday said the phenomenon was so bright they were awoken by the light around 5 a.m. One witness said the incident lasted three second, starting as a dim light before brightening the entire sky, then receding as the phenomenon passed towards the North.

One witness near Beresford, N.B. – approximately 90 km north of Mirimichi – claimed seeing fire fall from the sky into the woods behind his house after the incident.

(With files from Metro Halifax, TC•Media)

 

Organizations: RCMP, CBC Radio

Geographic location: Nova Scotia, Chester, Beresford Mirimichi

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