An afternoon boom and fireball -- that was seen, heard and felt in several states across the U.S. East Coast and as far north as Ontario -- was likely a disintegrating meteor.
The American Meteor Society says reports from witnesses began coming in shortly after noon on Wednesday. The AMS says 150 reports were made regarding the sighting by Thursday morning. It was mainly seen in the New York and Ontario areas but say they also received reports from Maryland, Virginia, Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania.
"It was extremely vivid and big. I thought it was the end of the world for a minute," reported an observer in Richmond, Virginia according to the AMS website.
"Saw from the driver seat of my car. It seemed wider than less bright fireballs I’ve seen at night," reported another witness from Herndon, Virginia, according to the AMS.
Another observer in Winchester, Virginia, said, "Very first time I saw one live, I was doing my everyday walk just happened to look up when I saw the streak then gold metallic flash, it was amazing to see."
An observer in Hagerstown, Maryland reported a fireball with red and orange sparks, smoke and a persistent train. In Frederick, an observer said they saw red, orange and yellow colors and a streak of light flashing as it was going through clouds.
"We tend to notice fireballs more at night because they stand out better, but it's not terribly unusual for very bright ones to be noticed during the day. It happens several times a year over populated areas," said Margaret Campbell-Brown, a member of the Meteor Physics Group at Western University in London, Ontario in a report from the Associated Press.
All fireballs, which are bright meteors, produce sound waves, sometimes detectable only by sensitive microphones, Campbell-Brown said by email. A large one may produce a thunderlike sonic boom with possible extra bangs from fragmentation, she said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report