Meteor sighting reports in Ontario probed after social media buzz

The American Meteor Society is investigating dozens of reports from residents in Ontario who described hearing and seeing what might have been a meteor streaking across the sky on Sunday.

Tweets describe a bright flash and a strong rumble

Ontario residents reported seeing what looked like a meteor Sunday afternoon. A twitter user in Whitby caught the aftermath on her camera. (Veronica/twitter)

The American Meteor Society is investigating dozens of reports from residents in Ontario who described hearing and seeing what might have been a meteor streaking across the sky on Sunday.

Social media buzzed with comments from residents in southern Ontario and parts of the U.S. Sunday afternoon who described seeing a flash brighter than a lightning bolt or hearing and feeling a rumble.

One Cobourg, Ont., resident tweeted that her first thought was that there had been an earthquake or an explosion when she felt her house vibrate.

This clearly was a pretty massive event, lots of mass, so on that basis alone I think we have a pretty good chance that meteorites would make it to the ground.- Peter Brown, Western University

The meteor society is looking into the reports, but so far there has been no confirmation. 

Western University professor and Canada Research Chair Peter Brown, an expert in meteors and comets, said the images and eyewitness reports are consistent with a meteor.

"This clearly was a pretty massive event, lots of mass, so on that basis alone I think we have a pretty good chance that
meteorites would make it to the ground," he said.

Much of the equipment the Western has to track meteors was not in operation Sunday afternoon, but a series of microphones the university has in place did detect a shockwave, Brown said.

"The energy is somewhere in the order of a few tens of tons of TNT explosive equivalent," he said in an interview Sunday night. "That would translate into something on the order of half to one metre in diameter and that's going to be a mass of ....a few metric tons."

With files from The Canadian Press

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