Green 'fireball' meteor Sunday wows Lower Mainland, Vancouver Island
Object streaking across sky northward spotted from Vancouver, Victoria, and U.S.
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A large, green-turquoise object with an unusually long tail streaked across the skies of British Columbia's Lower Mainland on Sunday evening, around 8:50 p.m.
The meteor was witnessed by Metro from the TransCanada Highway near Chilliwack, to the northwest and seemingly heading northward.
Others in the region described it as a "fireball," and witnesses soon took to Twitter to confirm their accounts from as far away as Victoria, B.C. and Seattle.
Meteorologist Chris Doyle, Enviroment and Climate Change Canada's acting associate regional director of prediction services, saw the object and tweeted what he saw.
"Just saw a meteor … arguably a fireball … in the sky to the (south) of Granville island," the former Vancouver Olympics chief meteorologist posted to Twitter at 8:52 p.m. "Green flash and trail."
Others chimed in that they, too, had seen the object, some describing its colour as closer to turquoise. But all agreed it was an unusual sight much larger than a typical meteor.
"Just saw a meterorite," tweeted Suzanne Mitchell at 9 p.m. from Vancouver Island. "Orange and turquoise fireball streak across the sky over Mt. Benson in Nanaimo. Wow!"
In fact, a meteorite is a meteor that has impacted the ground, and no accounts yet surfaced of any reported impact with Earth, indicating the object likely burned up in the atmosphere.
Another Vancouver Island resident, in Victoria, saw the green fireball, too.
"I think I saw a green shooting star or meteor over #yyj tonight," tweeted Patricia Sharratt.
"We saw it too!" tweeted Greater Vancouver Board of Trade communications manager Greg Hoekstra at 9:16 p.m. Sunday. "From the West End it looked like a bright streak in the sky over UBC. A shooting star or meteor?"
Alex Ruiz, the B.C. Lions digital manager, wrote she saw the fireball and knew it was out of the ordinary.
"It looked like it changed colours, that’s why we thought meteor," Ruiz tweeted. "Or something big entering the atmosphere. Definitely not just a shooting star. Crazy."
Another witness reported the sight from the North Shore.
"Saw it from the pier in North Van while staring at the skyline!" tweeted Justine Estelle at 9:23 p.m. "Wondered if anyone else saw it."
The fireball was seen from Washington State, as well.
"Just saw a huge meteor burning in the sky over Puget Sound, Seattle," tweeted Tom Schmitz, a digital marketing expert. "Blue-green fireball. I haven't seen one that big in over 20 years."
Green fireballs have an extensive history — and modern lore — on the continent, with numerous sightings particularly in the southern U.S. since the 1940s which have spurred Cold War, atomic testing and UFO-related conspiracies, including a high-level military investigation.
Nonetheless, despite their popularity in the world of ufologists, most experts agree green fireballs are natural in origin. Astronomers call them "spectacular bolide" or fireball meteors. One such large green fireball was seen over Cold Lake, Alberta in 2011.