Was this a meteor?

NO, this isn’t about the meteor shower yesterday. This is about something I saw on July 27.

As my wife and I were walking south down Wrightsville Beach, NC (just off the coast of Wilmington, NC) around 10 pm. Suddenly the sky ahead of us was lit by a brilliant turquoise light that went diagonally down across the sky, starting over the ocean (i.e., to the east) and ending somewhere to the west, a left-to-right diagonal slash. The object left a trail behind it that glowed for several seconds; at its height, it appeared to cover about a third of the “width” of the visible sky. We both stopped and gaped, then turned to each other incredulously: “Did you see that?” We were almost surprised that there was no shockwave that followed the event.

Was this just a spectacular meteor, or is there some other plausible explanation? I doubt it was a firework, since it originated over the ocean and its trajectory was an oblique diagonal; I doubt it was a flare, since it didn’t “float” in the sky.


Probably, or it could have been a piece of human made space junk re-entering the atmosphere.

Could it be a fireball? Check fireball and bolide on this page.

Covering a third of the visible sky? That’s quite something, wouldn’t it make the news (even if only local?)

Once in Wickenberg, AZ, I was standing outside on a patio talking with friends when I thought I saw lightning reflecting off the clouds in front of me. I thought it was odd, because there was no hint of rain. I turned around to see a meteor flashing so brightly that it was illuminating the entire sky, and causing the clouds to glow as it passed behind them. It was pretty spectacular. The whole thing took maybe 5 seconds.

That’s why I posted time and location, in case someone had heard about this. Just to be clear, it crossed (and left a trail across) about a third of the visible sky–it didn’t fill up about a third of that sky.

I’m not sure if it’d be a fireball: that sounds as though it’d need an impact, and there didn’t seem to be an impact here.

Space debris sounds like an interesting idea. The color (brilliant turquoise, or maybe aqua) was part of what was so unusual about the event. Would that indicate an unusual composition of the falling object–say, copper?


The meteor I mentioned above was also brilliantly aqua, so it’s probably not that uncommon a color…

Understood, although that still sounds like quite a sight. Its worth checking the night sky for a few minutes each night, just to see such a thing :slight_smile: