The brightest winter stars take on magical significance in the days leading up to Christmas, but not so much when they burst into flames.
That happened on Wednesday, December 21st, when a bright meteor lit up the night before crashing near Anchorage, Alaska.
It happened around 5:45 a.m. and the American Meteor Society reports that at least a dozen people saw it. These include some who reported eerie scenes of “a very bright light” flooding through windows, illuminating courtyards and appearing from behind cars driving down dark streets.
“I’ve seen meteor showers in the past and they were unlike anything I’ve ever seen in the night sky,” a woman told the society. “The streak was much, much broader, not like the thin lines of shooting stars or meteor showers.”
Michael and Heather Stewman captured video of the meteor using their Ring doorbell camera.
Their seven-second video shows the falling fireball turning the sky an eerie deep blue before appearing to plummet behind a tree line. Where it ended up remains a mystery.
“I was shocked. The camera caught a faint moving light that grew bigger and brighter within seconds. There was a flash of light in the sky that faded immediately afterward,” Heather Stewman told McClatchy News.
“I showed the video to my husband and he was impressed too. None of us have seen anything like this before. … It looked like it fell in our front yard, but people hundreds of miles away were saying the same thing.”
By a chilling coincidence, she discovers that it appeared on the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year.
The couple checked social media and quickly discovered they weren’t the only witnesses. That forced her to share her video, which had garnered more than 155,000 views and nearly 2,000 reactions and comments as of December 23.
These include some who suggested the flaming orb was “a new military aircraft or weapon being tested.”
“Seems awfully close,” Dan Sewell posted.
“I saw it in Fairbanks this morning! … Thought I was going insane (‘seeing things’),” Scherrie Wood wrote.
“It was a (piece of) space junk that burned up on entering the atmosphere,” said Gary Flower.
This story was originally published December 23, 2022 4:23 am.