RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Many went outside Wednesday night looking for the SpaceX Falcon 9 flying across the North Carolina sky, but it was a surprise fireball meteor that stole the show.
Just after 9:10 p.m. Wednesday night as the faint light of the Dragon spacecraft was moving across the south-southeast horizon, a shooting star appeared for a few seconds, seemingly right near the SpaceX rocket.
While the fireball meteor entering the Earth’s atmosphere may have looked like it was close to the SpaceX vehicle, there was no danger for the crew. The Crew-3 launch was carrying four astronauts to the International Space Station. This was the fourth attempt at launch after three prior delays.
According to NASA, analysis of eyewitness accounts posted on the American Meteor Society website, combined with data from a NASA camera in western North Carolina and other videos of the event, show that the meteor first became visible 48 miles above Greenville.
The meteor moved northwest across North Carolina at 33,000 mph, according to NASA. It lasted only 3.5 seconds before it disintegrated 28 miles above Macclesfield.
NASA said that at its brightest, “the fireball rivaled the Full Moon, suggesting it was caused by an object roughly 45 pounds in weight and 10 inches in diameter. The low speed implies an asteroidal origin.”