On Sunday night, a fiery ball of light ignited across the darkened skies of the northeastern United States, illuminating the heavens in a momentary flash of eerie daylight.
The fireball, which trailed across the skies a few minutes before 11 p.m. EDT, has already garnered more than 200 reports, American Meteor Society Spokesman Robert Lunsford said.
Reports of the fireball continued to pour in from people living in the Northeast and mid-Atlantic Monday afternoon, he said. The reports span across areas from Connecticut to Virginia.
AccuWeather.com Meteorologist Jesse Ferrell was able to catch the illuminated sky on a webcam in State College, Pennsylvania. Watch the video below:
"It is definitely a widespread viewing area," Lunsford said, adding that weather may be a contributing factor in the fireball's visibility.
"Skies were clear or mostly clear across Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New England," AccuWeather.com Meteorologist Brian Edwards said, adding there were clouds across Virginia, but mostly clear conditions across Maryland at the time.
The American Meteor Society, Ltd., founded in 1911 as an offshoot of the American Astronomical Society, is an independent Not-For-Profit Corporation based in New York State, which specializes in observing, monitoring, and reporting meteors, meteoric fireballs and related meteoric phenomena, according to the organization's website.
While there is a small chance the fireball could be related to the Southern Taurids meteor shower, it is more than likely just a random event caused by a larger than average meteor, Lunsford added.
While meteors break apart in atmosphere every day, and fireballs are not rare spectacles on a global scale, they are not as common as a typical shooting star.
"On a personal level, you may see one or two of them per lifetime," Lunsford said. "They're pretty rare for the individual."
"Average meteors are about the size of a small pebble, but fireballs are much larger," he said, adding that it is 99 percent likely Sunday's meteor was completely vaporized before making any impact to the surface or ocean.
"Anything larger than the size of a softball has the potential to be as bright as the full moon," Lunsford said. "Even the slowest ones are moving at around 25 miles per second."