South Floridians who happened to be looking in the right place at the right time Sunday night saw one spectacular light show – possibly a sporadic meteor.
The Coast Guard began getting flooded with phone calls about 7:30 p.m., with reports of folks seeing flare-like objects from Jacksonville to Key West, according to Coast Guard Petty Officer 3rd Class Sabrina Laberdesque.
People called in, describing the flares “as orange or red fireballs in the sky,” Laberdesque said. The display was limited to the sky: No injuries were reported, Laberdesque said.
A sporadic meteor is basically a rocky object that comes from the asteroid belt, said Mike Hankey, operations manager for the American Meteor Society, based in Genesee, N.Y. The group logged 27 reports within about the first two hours of the event, he said.
"This is a lot of reports to come in quickly," Hankey said.
Gauging by the reports, it happened somewhere over the ocean.
"These fireballs are common," Hankey said. "It’s rare for any one person to see one more than once or twice in their lifetime. But on any given night, it might happen somewhere in the globe a few times in a day."
Hankey added: "People should not be scared of the sky falling or anything at all."
Amanda Mayer, of West Palm Beach, said she saw something in the sky and said she thought it was somebody flashing a light. She said she hit record on her camera.
"I was like, 'Wow! That's weird," Mayer said. "I just started videotaping, and that's when it happened."