A massive meteor exploded over Arizona on Tuesday night that shook houses in the vicinity. Residents called in to local TV stations to report the event and John Duhigg managed to capture the explosion on camera.
As reported by CNN, the meteor explosion caused some concern and led to hundreds of posts on social media, including Facebook and Twitter. The event was described as a “white, bright light in the western sky.” According to ABC 15 meteorologist, Amber Sullins, the meteor was part of the Andromedids, which peaked on Dec. 6. The Andromedid meteor shower is a relatively low-key event, almost nonexistent until a recent display in 2011, and far outshined by the Geminid meteor shower, which peaks in the second week of December.
In the video posted to YouTube, Duhigg said he was driving near the Phoenix Mesa Gateway Airway around 7:11 p.m. local time. On KGUN 9’s, a local CNN affiliate, Facebook, more than 600 comments were posted in response to a post asking about the explosion. Some residents dismissed the event as nothing more than jet fighters while some heard a boom and others just saw a flash of light. Of course some of the comments went with the conspiracy route with a few claiming the meteor was an Unidentified Flying Object, or UFO.
The meteor was traveling extremely fast and the event lasted for a few seconds. Speaking to KGUN 9, Tony Kubrak, a local resident, said the explosion “Shook the windows, it shook everything in the house. I stepped outside, and had to be no more than 3 minutes later after I hear all of this, and I see this tremendous, white, bright light in the western sky.” KGUN reports the military and other agencies have denied any responsibility for the event.
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While the meteor isn't believed to have been an early Geminid, the meteor shower is expected to peak on Dec. 13. The Geminids are caused by the debris left behind from 3200 Phaethon, an asteroid that sort of acts like a comet. Unlike other asteroids, 3200 Phaethon, during its orbits, travels extremely close to the sun.
According to NASA, the Geminid meteor shower is unique for several reasons. Unlike the Perseids or Leonids, its parent is an asteroid and not a comet and the meteor shower features some massive debris, anywhere from 5 to 500 times more massive than debris in other streams. The peak of the Geminids is expected to average 100 to 120 meteors per hour and will be “rich in fireballs.”
The Arizona meteor explosion video can be viewed below.