EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — People from the Mid-Atlantic to the Northeast witnessed a meteor flying across the sky just after 11 p.m. Wednesday.
According to amateur astronomer Jason Major, for the next several weeks, we are going to notice more meteor showers.
Major told Eyewitness News the Earth is passing through a trail of space dust left behind by a comet.
As these small objects enter Earth’s atmosphere, they burn up and fall from the sky. Major says that is exactly what people saw Wednesday night.
Major’s analysis leads him to estimate the size of the meteor was around half a meter—or the size of your living room chair.
He says on average 60 tons of space debris falls to Earth every day.
The reason why so many people saw the meteor was because it entered the upper atmosphere, about 60 miles above the Earth’s surface.
But why don’t we see these events as often? According to Major, most of them occur over the ocean or in highly populated areas where light pollution obscures the night sky.
For those looking to take in the next meteor shower, Major says the best place to be is on the beach in Charlestown.
The more visible Perseid meteor shower will be visible between August 11-13. Plan to head out after midnight and look straight up.
In addition, be patient. Major says on average, a good meteor shower produces one or two visible streaks per minute.
During the downtime, he recommends downloading one of the various stargazing apps to learn more about the night sky.