Look familiar? (muratart/Shutterstock)
Hey did you see that alien, excuse me fireball, streak over the city yesterday morning? Not having been given a heads up by the meteorological powers that be, I unfortunately lost out on this opportunity to sleep. But based on the footage I’m seeing online, watching this extraterrestrial ship, I mean “bright meteor,” fall from the sky seemed like a pretty solid reward for waking up before 7 a.m.
— Jeremy Settle (@JeremySettle) January 9, 2019
According to the American Meteor Society, reports came in fast and thick Wednesday, beginning around 6:30 a.m. from 11 states running the length of the East Coast. So far, the AMS counts 530 fireball sightings ranging from South Carolina to Connecticut.
Before you call the UFO hotline, please note that the AMS does not believe this to be another piece of credible evidence that we are not alone out there. The society does not believe this to be a winking hello from a crew of space denizens cruising by on their messenger craft, or an alien warning shot. No, the AMS says its “first analysis” presented the most probable explanation—the fireball one—and insists there’s no suspicious activity afoot here.
Apparently, fireballs (a scientifically acceptable term for “bright meteor,” i.e., a meteor about as bright as Venus) happen all the goddamn time and we are simply too dense, or distracted, or sleepy to notice them. Per the AMS: “Several thousand meteors of fireball magnitude occur in the Earth’s atmosphere each day. The vast majority of these, however, occur over the oceans and uninhabited regions, and a good many are masked by daylight. Those that occur at night also stand little chance of being detected due to the relatively low numbers of persons out to notice them.”
You can take these AMS assurances at face value, but be advised that this is the second mass fireball sighting this week. On Tuesday, 75 people across England, Scotland, and the Netherlands attested to seeing a bright meteor. And then, it seems like just yesterday that the governor stood before an anxious crowd and, brandishing an alien mask, insisted just a little too firmly that a freak blue light explosion witnesses saw the night before had not been the work of extraterrestrials, but of an exploding transformer. Coincidences, all of them? Personally, I think not.