Did you see the fireball streak Birmingham’s sky on November 1, 2020?

An instant of beauty. Photo by Vincentiu Solomon

It’s a bird. It’s a plane. No, it’s a fireball! Come on, you know we had to use this age-old phrase. On the evening of November 1, a fireball was seen shooting across the sky—and it was visible to many across Alabama. Here’s what we know.

What’s a fireball?

I know what you’re thinking. COVID-19, murder hornets, hurricanes and now fireballs? 2020 has been quite the year. Luckily, this event was nothing more than a moment of beauty in the sky, because a fireball is just another term for a very bright meteor.

And it turns out that Earth’s atmosphere sees several thousand meteors of fireball magnitude each day, so they are quite common. We are just typically unable to see them due to daylight and because a vast majority occur over oceans and uninhabited regions. 

However, the brighter the fireball, the more rare it is. 

Here are some incredible videos that captured the event:

Fireball from Hayden, AL

Fireball from Clanton, AL

Find more via James Spann’s Facebook page.

Do fireballs make a sound?

Sounds like sociology’s favorite question of “If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a noise?” But the answer is quite interesting.

According to the American Meteor Society, fireballs can make a sound—two in fact. Both generated by very bright fireballs and both very rare.

They are called sonic booms and electrophonic sounds. Remember the sonic booms of 2017 and sonic booms of 2019? I sure do. Not only were they unbelievably loud, but they also shook my house.

See a fireball? Report it!

The American Meteor Society wants to know about any fireball sightings. So if you think you see one, report it. It may be that you only saw an airplane soaring overhead, but you never know, it could be a fireball, or something even cooler.

Did you see the fireball on November 1, 2020? Let us know when and where + be sure to share those videos with us on FacebookInstagram and Twitter

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Patience Itson
Patience Itson
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