HALIFAX - A large flash that appeared in the sky early Tuesday and Wednesday mornings had dozens of Nova Scotians talking, but a local science guru said the cause is ânot so mysterious.â
A bright light is captured by Nova Scotia Webcams near the Masstown Market.
Cumberland County resident 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.
âI look out the window at my neighbourâs and out onto the bay when all of a sudden I saw this bright light falling out of the sky,â Miller said. âIt was like a giant fireball, it was yellowish, orange in colour and it was bright. It was moving really fast.â
Police in Nova Scotia confirmed someone from the Chester area reported a âfireballâ in the sky at 5:09 a.m., but werenât sure what it was from.
âWe donât know. Itâs a mystery,â quipped RCMP spokesman Cpl. Al LeBlanc.
The fireball was a bolide, according to science expert Richard Zurawski.
He said a bolide is a piece of rock or metal falling from space that glows when it burns up in the atmosphere, and its kinetic energy is transferred to heat and light.
âItâs a pretty typical thing. Seeing it over the Maritimes is a little unusual, but this happens thousand of times probably every 24 hours,â said Zurawski, a meteorologist with Rogers News 95.7 radio in Halifax.
Tuesday morningâs bolide came from a southerly direction headed north, he said, and they can last up to five or six seconds with a long, bright tail depending on how big the chunk of space debris was.
âIt goes from 20 to 40 kilometres a second,â Zurawski said, and are usually the size of a human head or larger.
Some people have found pieces of bolides that reach the ground, which are then known as meteorites, he said.
Although many of these fall to earth every day, Zurawski said itâs unusual for people to spot one because thereâs so much unpopulated space in the Arctic tundra, ocean or desert where they could land.
âItâs rare on one hand, and on the other hand itâs sort of a common thing.â
Zurawski said a lot of the fascination people have with meteors or unusual phenomenon is because weâre âdivorced from nature in so many waysâ and donât always pay attention to whatâs happening in the sky.
âWhen something does happen we start saying âOh, gee, thatâs interestingâ âŠ and itâs not Star Trek,â said Zurawski.