A meteor crashing through the Earth’s atmosphere could be responsible for sightings of a fireball over Montreal Thursday night, astronomers said.
Montrealer Humberto Dramasino witnessed the sight as he was driving home in the city's St-Laurent district around 7:30 p.m.
"I saw a fireball just below the clouds," Dramasino said. "It was losing pieces in the air while it was flying and it was very, very fast."
The spectacle lasted no more than a few seconds, Dramasino said.
Montreal-based astronomer Andrew Fazekas, who runs the website thenightskyguy.com, confirmed the description of the object matched that of a meteor.
Fazekas said he received reports of the fireball from at least five others, including from as far away as Saint-Eustache, about 30 kilometres north of Montreal.
Meteors are not unusual but the size of the fireball witnessed over Montreal is less common, Fazekas said.
"Meteors happen every night, they tend to be about the size of a grain of sand though," he said.
"When you see something that looks like a ball that seems to be on fire, with smoke trailing behind it — those tend to be much larger like a baseball, basketball size, even the size of a tricycle.
"These rocks tend to produce a very spectacular sight," Fazekas said.
Fazekas said the reports were even more unusual, because of the heavy cloud cover over the region Thursday night.
"That is very rare because most of these meteors, even the ones that produce fireballs are very high up — many kilometres above our heads," he said.
Fazekas said he would transmit the reports of the sighting to the University of Western Ontario, in London, Ont., which monitors meteors across Canada.