Apparent meteor lights up sky over Toronto
Published Wednesday, October 5, 2016 9:22AM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, October 5, 2016 12:25PM EDT
A University of Toronto observatory captured some extraordinary footage of a meteor streaking across the night sky on Tuesday.
The astronomical observatory at the University of Toronto’s Scarborough campus tweeted a 14-second timelapse video Tuesday night showing a quick flash lighting up the sky.
“It’s technically called a fireball, so a very bright meteor,” Hanno Rein, an assistant professor at the University of Toronto told CTV Toronto. “These are not too uncommon, there are reports a few thousand times a year all over North America.”
The observatory’s webcam looks south over Morningside Avenue and Kingston Road in Toronto’s east end.
Police received calls from concerned citizens about a possible plane crash over Lake Ontario.
Rein said, “It was clear it was not a plane crash, but a meteor if you look at the video.”
Western University in London, Ont. also captured an image of the meteor, and there were also reports in western New York, which suggests the meteor streaked over an area spanning hundreds of kilometres. Amazing, says Rein, considering the meteor’s likely size.
“It’s typically a small particle, think of it as something about a centimetre in size or so, that travels very fast through the atmosphere,” Rein said. “It heats up and you see all the energy that’s dissipating in the form of light.”
Now, astronomers who are trying to map the orbit of the meteor hope members of the public can help.
“There was an event in Russia a few years ago that was particularly bright, and a lot of people in Russia have these dashboard cameras, so a lot of people captured it from many different directions,” Rein said.
He says, if anyone has video of the meteor, the observatory would like to see it.
But don’t expect to find any remnants of the celestial body here on Earth. Rein says the meteor likely burned up completely before it could hit the ground.