Four meteor fireballs streaked across the skies in the US and Europe, sending people into a tizzy and inspiring theories about aliens and spaceships on Tuesday (14 November) night.
One meteor streaked across the night sky over the city of Phoenix around 8:30 pm local time (10:30 pm EST) and was captured in a video that went viral on social media.
As can be seen in the video posted by the City of Phoenix, the fireball appears like a bulb for a few seconds and then disappears into the darkness of the night sky. According to the American Meteor Society (AMS), the fireball was actually a bolide – a meteor which explodes in the atmosphere with a bright flash.
Among other fireballs, one streaked over southern Ohio and two others followed later that night, passing over Germany and France. Thousands of people witnessed the rare sightings and reported them to several organisations.
Noting the origin and direction of the fireballs, AMS noted the meteors over Germany and Ohio could be linked to the Taurid meteor shower, which peaked on Saturday (11 November), but those over Arizona and France couldn't be linked to the Taurids, mainly because of their origin and direction.
"Associated with the comet Encke, the Taurids are actually two separate showers, with a Southern and a Northern component," the American Meteor Society said after the fireball appeared. "Both branches of the Taurids are most notable for colourful fireballs and are often responsible for an increased number of fireball reports from September through November."