'Fireball' seen in Timmins sky creates buzz
TIMMINS – People across northeastern Ontario are still talking about seeing a fireball falling through the sky during the evening hours on October 29.
It happened around 6:30 p.m. and social media lit like the fireball people reported seeing streaking across the horizon.
Rachel Hamelin says she saw the spectacle on her way home from work, and says she was awestruck.
"We've always watched the meteor showers in August at the cottage, so you can see all of the white streaks just all over the sky… but this was completely different because it was red and bright. It was a massive fireball. To see something like that, you see videos of it, but to actually see it with your own eyes… videos don't do it justice," says Hamlin.
Some speculated that it was a piece of a satellite, or even aliens, but an astronomy professor says it’s a common phenomenon, albeit rare to see in person.
He says the object was likely a meteor at the tail-end of a meteor shower.
"Definitely the characteristics of a very large, perhaps baseball-sized rock… flying through the earth's atmosphere and disintegrating through atmospheric friction. It's really a beautiful site," said Paul Delaney, York University.
Delaney says most meteors are destroyed by friction in the atmosphere, and those that survive can look like a rock from your garden.
He says they can give scientists much need information about our universe.
"These meteorites are a piece of our past… they're time capsule from the formation of our solar system. Being able to find them and give them to museums and other research organizations is really a valuable undertaking," he explained.
Delaney says those who saw the ball of light were pretty lucky, saying he's only seen the phenomenon maybe three times in his 40 year career.
He says if you do see one, reporting it to a meteor association can help scientists find out where it might have landed.