Fireball outshines moon during spectacular meteor shower

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A brilliant meteor shower caught on camera by NASA shows a fireball brighter than the moon lighting up the skies over the southeast U.S.

According to NASA, a meteor is considered a fireball if it shines more brightly than Venus.

Illuminating the sky over parts of Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee was a cosmic show that started in the wee morning hours of Aug. 28.


“Recorded by all six NASA cameras in the Southeast, this fireball was one of the brightest observed by the network in 5 years of operations,” said Bill Cooke, head of the Meteoroid Environment Office at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama.

Cooke estimates the asteroid that started the shower was about two feet wide and over 100 pounds. Moving at 56,000 miles per hour, Cooke believes the fireball was about 20 times brighter than the moon.

The space rock started to break apart over Ocoee, Tennessee.

“NASA cameras lost track of the fireball pieces at an altitude of 21 miles, by which time they had slowed to a speed of 19,400 mph,” Cookie said.

The agency has a network of cameras to track and study meteors and believe the information gathered can help design spacecrafts.