Streaking fireball, believed to be meteorite, spotted over Gadsden County

Published: Mar. 22, 2019 at 4:22 PM EDT
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By: Katie Kaplan | WCTV Eyewitness News

March 22, 2019

QUINCY, Fla. (WCTV) – Workers at a Gadsden County business spotted a fireball streaking through the sky early Friday morning.

A security camera at Roberts Sand Company in Quincy captured video of the apparent meteorite.

"It came across the sky and you could see the fire trail behind it," said operations manager Dwyane Fox.

Fox told WCTV's Katie Kaplan that something flashing and bright had caught his eye it about 7:10 a.m.

"I looked up at it and you could see the fireball coming down and parts coming off of it and a little bit of black smoke coming off," he said.

He said it then broke off into two pieces and disappeared into a cloud that lit up as it happened. Fox said then he then went to see if one of the 13 surveillance cameras at the business had captured it.

"Camera 10 by the gas tanks," he said. "You could see it clear as day."

The fireball moved west to east across the southern sky. Fox said he has seen several meteors while at work, but never one as bright and slow-moving as this one.

One member of the Tallahassee Astronomical Society, Bill Skelley, said it is unique to be see one in daylight, which means it was most likely what they call a 'fireball.'

"It has to be brighter than the planet Venus," he said.

Skelley added that it could have been either a meteor, comet or space junk, like an old satellite or rocket booster, that entered the atmosphere. He suggests that anyone who witnesses something similar, reach out to the American Meteor Society>. If you catch it on camera, like Fox did, you should send the video along too.

Skelley also said if locals missed the sight this morning, there are still opportunities to see shooting stars, or any other space junk that might be flying around. A 'dark site' that is free of artificial light and open to the public is located near the boat launch near Lake Miccosukee. All you need is a chair to sit in.

WCTV checked with the Gadsden County Sheriff’s Office, where dispatchers say they had no reports of anyone else seeing the fireball. However, at least one other WCTV viewer reported it to the station.

To view the surveillance video, click on the media player at the top of the page.