While most Alaskans were tucked up in bed early on Wednesday morning, a number of home security cameras in and around Anchorage captured a natural phenomenon that would otherwise have gone largely unnoticed.
At around 5:45 a.m. local time, a meteor hurtled across the sky, its speed as it hit Earth’s atmosphere causing a bright light that momentarily lit up a large portion of Southcentral Alaska.
In footage captured by a resident’s doorcam and shared by Reuters, we can clearly see the meteor blaze across the sky above Anchorage.
But not everyone was sleeping, with some folks witnessing the event from their vehicle before reporting it on the American Meteor Society’s website.
“Saw this from the car driving north on Boniface Parkway in Anchorage,” wrote one witness. “I have seen meteor showers in the past, and this was unlike anything I’d ever seen … the streak was much, much wider, not like the thin lines of shooting stars or meteor showers. I had two people in the car with me who also saw it, one of whom has a personal interest in astronomy, and she agreed she had never seen anything like it.”
Another wrote: “I was driving my car when the bright light came behind me and lit up the sky and then it came over the top of my car and then in front of my vision and then disappeared suddenly. Bright white at the front with a bright blue tail.”
Mark Conde, a physics professor at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, told a local news site that the event was probably a part of the Ursid meteor shower, originating from comet 8P/Tuttle.
In fact, Thursday night is a great night to stick your head out of the window, or make you way to a location free from light pollution, to see if you can spot any shooting stars from the Ursids, as this year’s shower is about to peak. EarthSky suggests you may be lucky enough to see up to 10 meteors per hour, but they’re unlikely to be as big as the one spotted over Alaska on Wednesday.