2 meteors streak across NJ sky days apart, 1 amid Space X launch
New Jersey was treated to two "sky shows" in the past week, including a rare daytime fireball.
NASA reports a meteor streaked across the sky around 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, visible over the Atlantic Ocean, roughly 50 miles from Stafford Township at an altitude of 60 miles.
The American Meteor Society reported 172 sightings were logged, mostly from people in New Jersey and eastern Pennsylvania — but also from Long Island, New York's Hudson Valley, Delaware and Maryland.
The fragment of Comet Encke moved to the southwest at 65,000 miles per hour, traveling 90 miles before disintegrating from view about 42 miles above the ocean, just off Sea Isle City Beach.
"It is difficult to get a precise trajectory without video data, but an analysis of the sightings shows that the meteor’s direction of motion is consistent with it being a member of the currently active north Taurid meteor shower," the agency said on its Facebook page.
"The light blue glow had a trail, it looked like a larger mass in the front and a trail of skipping light in the back. It was spectacular," a person who saw it over Brick reported to the AMS website.
There was also a meteor spotted during the launch of the Space X Falcon 9 rocket last Wednesday around 9:10 p.m., as it transported the Crew Dragon capsule. That one was visible from 13 roughly states, mostly south of Washington D.C.
Other comments from individuals who spotted the weekend meteor described as:
- "Long smokey train with some sparks miked in" (Closter)
- "The fireball fragmented and split into multiple bright pieces" (Red Bank)
- "Neon blue hue" (Eatontown)
- "White train, glowing white" (Woodbridge)
- "Looked like it was sparking or exploding pieces off of it" (Toms River)
- "Fragmentation along the path of the meteorite" (Hamilton Mercer County)
AMS also received over 500 reports about the Wednesday night meteor, with many reporting it was as bright as a full moon. Two reports came from New Jersey.
"I’m unsure the degree, it looked like a roller coaster dropping over a hill," an observer from Ship Bottom reported.
It was awesome with Space X at the same time," someone reported to AMS, who said they were in Lacey Township.
Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ