(WFLA) – Hundreds of Tampa Bay area residents are talking about the fireball that streaked across the sky Monday night. Venice Police officer Erin Mungavin saw it around 11:15 p.m. See video above from the Venice Police Department.
“I was driving actually west over to the Isle of Venice, and the interior of my car lit up, really bright, and I looked up and it looked like it was just a little firework, over to my left,” she said. “It was going down very slowly. Then I drove over the bridge; I saw an officer over there, so I went and spoke to him and he said the same thing. He said he thought he was crazy.”
Turns out, they weren’t the only ones seeing things. Dozens of people throughout the Tampa Bay area let their cameras roll, not knowing they would capture the meteor. The American Meteor Society received 150 reports of sightings from throughout Florida.
Jeff Rodgers with the Bishop Planetarium in Bradenton said this one was about the size of a soccer ball when it entered the atmosphere near the Florida Keys.
“This ball, it was probably stony, starts to burn up. That gives you the light show, until it got to just off Anna Maria Island and then it was done,” Rodgers said.
Rodgers said these types of meteors are common. We typically don’t see them because they usually occur during the daytime and out over the ocean.
Although it appeared close, Rodgers said the fireball was many miles away. Rodgers said they aren’t typically dangerous.
“They can look like you can reach out and touch them, but those are 80 miles up, so very rarely do these meteors become meteorites. They don’t usually make it down to the surface,” he said.
Reportedly, the fireball could be seen in Alabama, Georgia and other states, though most of the reports came from the Tampa Bay area.
Christopher Scruby shared video from Largo. See Scruby’s video below.
The video, filmed facing south from Lake Judy Lee, was recorded with security camera video.
The North Port Police Department also shared a fireball video. See it below.