Watch CBS News

Massive Fireball Streaks Across East Coast, Prompts Plane Crash Fears

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – A massive fireball lit up the skies across parts of the East Coast and Canada Tuesday night, leading many to panic over fears of a plane crash.

Phones lit up at police offices and newsrooms across the East Coast with many in Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and even Canada reporting the meteor.

"People saw a meteor," said the Carnegie Science Center's Ralph Crewe. "Some people call it a shooting star or falling star, but it's a very bright one."

Crewe explained what a meteor is.

"Basically, a piece of rock or metal from outer space that hits the Earth at a tremendous speed, at least 25,000 miles an hour," he said.

A camera at the University of Toronto Scarborough Observatory captured the fireball on video.

They posted this time lapse video on Twitter:

"Judging by the brightness of it, it was probably the size of a cantaloupe," said Crewe. "So when it hits the air, it actually compresses the Earth's atmosphere so much that it glows brilliantly. In this case, as bright as the full moon."

Toronto Police and Fire received calls and reports that a plane had crashed just after the meteor streaked overhead.

That sparked hysteria on Twitter that a plane had crashed.

In Pittsburgh, the phones lit up at the KDKA newsroom around 10:40 p.m. Tuesday night.

There were multiple calls from Green Tree to Leechburg about a large glowing object in the sky. A Green Tree police officer captured it on his dash cam, but his chief would not release the video.

Join The Conversation On The KDKA Facebook Page
Stay Up To Date, Follow KDKA On Twitter

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.