ST. GEORGE — A fireball lit up the western American skies Tuesday night, but no one is really sure yet what it was.
Reports had the fireball streaking for about 30 seconds at around 7:15 p.m. MST. The blazing light was visible from Southern California to southwestern Utah, Arizona and possibly beyond.
“Just witnessed a large fireball streak across the sky,” Twitter user @SoCalScanner wrote from Camarillo, California, just north of Los Angeles. “Lasted for about 30 seconds then went behind clouds. Anyone else see it?”
The general thought is that this is a part of the Geminids meteor shower that peaked Dec. 12. Astronomers said at the time that fireballs could occur in the early evening and early morning hours. This type of meteor is called an “earthgrazer” and it is normally a long-lasting, slow-moving meteor. This phenomenon fits that description.
“We didn’t do it.” Vandenberg Air Force Base Chief of Communications Larry Hill said. Indeed, Jon Duckworth of St. George did a search of launch schedules and said it showed no scheduled launches for the period in which the fireball was seen.
Video shared from Las Vegas showed a large plume of light. One viewer sent KTLA-TV in Los Angeles a picture of the fireball over the hot air balloon in front of the Paris Las Vegas Casino.
Isabell Nungaray of Los Angeles told KNBC-TV in Los Angeles that her 9-year-old said it was Santa training new reindeer.
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