A fireball UFO was spotted traversing the night skies by hundreds of residents from Arizona, Nevada, and California on Sept. 14, triggering many calls to law enforcement and media across the three states.
In various videos of the event, the mysterious object appears white, orange, or blue-green with a streaky tail. Some viewers even saw colorful lights falling from the UFO, for example in Glendora, Calif.
NASA spokesperson Veronica McGregor at the agency’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California told CNN that this was a rare and exciting treat for multitude of spectators fortunate enough to see the phenomenon.
“For all the millions of people that called, they can scratch that off their bucket list,” she said. “They are very lucky to see a fireball.”
McGregor believes the object was a tiny piece of asteroid that formed a meteorite upon impacting the atmosphere, guessing it to be around the size of a baseball or basketball.
Ed Krupp at the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles said the color changes observed by viewers are due to high temperatures.
“They are seeing the air that this object is heating,” he told ABC News. “It heats up a column of air tremendously as it passes through the atmosphere.”
“The oxygen and the nitrogen at that high altitude will respond to the heating by giving off light,” he added.
“It looked greenish at the head where it was the hottest and looked reddish and yellowish as the gasses behind it were cooling.”However, Peter Davenport, director of the National UFO Reporting Center, is skeptical that the UFO was a meteor because it was visible for so long.
“It’s definitely too early to say that it’s a meteor,” he told 8News. “One would not expect a person to be witness to a meteor for 45 or 50 seconds.”
“I believe that the planet Earth is being visited routinely by these objects, which for now, about 64 years, we have called UFOs,” Davenport concluded.
“Our government is shielding the American people from that information for some reason. That I find very, very unsettling.”
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