Nation & World News

Did You See A Flash In The Sky? You Just Might On Friday

By Mark Memmott on September 5th, 2013

News stations in Washington, D.C., say they started getting calls just after 11 p.m. ET Wednesday from folks reporting that they’d seen a mysterious light in the sky.

WTOP says some people thought the flash was green or blue. CBS DC heard from some who said it was orange. The station adds that the light “was seen in the skies over the eastern seaboard.”

There’s at least one photo flying around on Twitter. But with a time stamp of “6:58 PM – 4 Sep 13,” you have to wonder about its authenticity.

According to WTOP, it’s been told by the U.S. Naval Observatory that the light was “a fireball,” which the American Meteor Society defines as “another term for a very bright meteor, generally brighter than magnitude -4, which is about the same magnitude of the planet Venus in the morning or evening sky.”

Anyone out there see it?

Update at 9:12 a.m. ET. Size Of A Basketball:

The rock that flashed across the sky Wednesday night was probably about the size of a basketball, Geoff Chester of the Naval Observatory just told WTOP.

Meanwhile, if you’re anywhere from South Carolina up through the Mid-Atlantic and into New England on Friday at 11:27 p.m ET, you might want to go out and look up.

NASA’s Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer mission is set to lift off then from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport’s Wallops Flight Facility on the Virginia coast. The rocket, says Space.com, is carrying “a robotic mission that will orbit the moon to gather detailed information about the structure and composition of the thin lunar atmosphere, as well as moon dust conditions near the surface.”

NASA’s “visibility map” for the launch shows just how large a part of the nation may be able to see something.

Space.com has posted a “how to watch” guide for the launch. Going outside and looking toward Virginia is obviously one option. Also:

“You can watch the LADEE launch live on SPACE.com here, courtesy of NASA TV. When it comes to space apps, smartphone users can use the NASA app available for Android and iPhone to watch the launch live. You can find the NASA app here.”

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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