Earlier this week, many people along the East Coast of the United States reported seeing a fireball streaking through the night sky. The flaming object was only visible for a few seconds, but that was long enough for it to be captured by a number of dash cameras. Though reports of fireballs in the sky aren’t uncommon, this week’s event was notable for one reason: the flashing object appeared green.
As with other similar events, the fireball spied on April 16 was recorded by the American Meteor Society (AMS), which currently lists more than 400 reports from people across the eastern United States. According to the reports, the fireball — which was described as green/blue in color by witnesses — was seen from as far south as the Carolinas and as far north as New Jersey.
The fireball has been dubbed event 1775-2019, and there are currently eight videos of it submitted to AMS, most of them high-quality and in color. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) also got in on the action, saying on Twitter that the GOESEast Geostationary Lightning Mapper spotted the meteor, too.
Most fireballs that illuminate the night sky are usually red, or mostly red with elements of orange and yellow. Green fireballs, though less common, aren’t unheard of — we got a few videos of one back in 2017, for example. What causes the eye-catching color? The meteor’s chemical composition influences the color witnesses see as its burns; a green/blue hue indicates a large amount of magnesium in the composition.
We’ll no doubt get more videos of fireballs in the future; these events aren’t rare in Earth’s atmosphere, but rather they just typically take place in parts of the world where no one is around to see them. Thanks to an increase in outdoor security cameras, dashcams, and doorbell cameras, an increasing number of these fireballs have been caught on video.