KEY POINTS

  • A bright fireball was spotted in western Japan, on Sunday
  • Several cameras captured the moment that the bolide illuminated the surroundings
  • The event was reportedly seen in various regions in Western and Central Japan

A fireball event was spotted in Japan over the weekend. The event was so bright that it momentarily lit up the night sky. 

A bright fireball was spotted at about 1:34 a.m. local time, Sunday in western Japan. According to the International Meteor Organization (IMO), witnesses said that there was a "rumbling noise" then the sky went "totally bright."

In the video shared by Japan Broadcasting Corporation, NHK on Twitter, a bright greenish ball can be seen streaming in the sky at various locations. It can be seen falling for a few seconds before illuminating the night sky for a brief moment then fizzling out in an instant. 

A video shared by Kyodo News on YouTube also shows several glimpses of the event, one of which provides a closer look at the object as it shoots through the sky, illuminating the clouds around it before going out in a bright flash. Also in the video, there are two footage that don't show the fireball itself but, buildings suddenly being illuminated by a bright light. 

In fact, Takeshi Inoue, the director of the Akashi Municipal Planetarium in Hyogo Prefecture, said that the final burst of light was "as bright as the full moon," Kyodo News reported.

"At first it looked like there was a streetlight on the windshield, but for a moment it flashed," a witness, Mr. Shoya Kawaguchi said, according to the English translation of the NHK report. "I had seen it on the internet, but I was really surprised."

What was it? According to Kyodo News, it is believed to be a bolide. As NASA's Center for Near-Earth Objects (CNEOS) explained, fireballs and bolides are the terms used to describe "exceptionally bright meteors" that are bright enough to be seen in a wide area. In this case, the IMO reported that the bright object was observed in Western and Central Japan, from the Tokai to Kansai and Shikoku region.

The fireballs that explode in the sky are then referred to as bolides, although the CNEOS noted that the terms are typically used interchangeably.

The bolide sighting comes just over a week after the camera on an Australian research vessel captured the moment that a meteor broke apart over the ocean and, the same weekend there were multiple reports of a bright fireball over Germany, RP Online reported.

Meteor Pictured: This image taken with a meteorite tracking device developed by George Varros, shows a meteorite as it enters Earth's atmosphere during the Leonid meteor shower November 19, 2002. Photo: Getty Images/George Varros and Dr. Peter Jenniskens/NASA