Jacob McQuarrie was hanging out with some friends in a backyard hot tub Tuesday night, when “out of nowhere the whole sky lit up like it was 10 a.m.”
“It looked like the biggest and brightest firework I have ever seen flying right over my head,” said McQuarrie, 19, of the Palermo section of Upper Township.
Numerous reports came out of the mid-Atlantic Tuesday night about a meteor streaking across the sky.
Just before 11 p.m., observations of a fireball began coming in to the American Meteor Society’s website, from Vermont to South Carolina; 360 reports were received in total. Of those reports, 12 were sent from Atlantic County, while four were from Cape May County.
According to the society, the fireball traveled from north to south and plunged into the Atlantic Ocean in front of Bethany Beach, Delaware.
Sean Finnegan’s home security camera in Egg Harbor Township caught the streaking spectacle dash across the night sky. The meteor first shows itself as a bright light in the corner of the footage, before the celestial object itself moved in.
“I saw some Twitter talk about it and decided to check my camera around the time mentioned,” he said.
Scott Rudlosky, a physical scientist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, said a satellite-based instrument confirmed the meteor. The instrument was launched into orbit about two years ago to help the National Weather Service track severe weather.
The annual Lyrid meteor shower is active each year from April 16 to 25, according to EarthSky, though it is not known yet whether this incident came from that.
The American Meteor Society says several thousand meteors appear in the Earth’s atmosphere each day and many of them occur over the oceans and uninhabited regions and are masked by daylight.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.