Neil Zeller photographs fireball streaking across night sky
Calgary photographer catches 20-second blaze as Chinese rocket burns up
A Calgary photographer snapped some amazing shots of a fireball streaking through the sky on Monday night.
Neil Zeller was taking pictures of the northern lights just west of Calgary around 11 p.m. MT when he noticed the blaze.
Zeller says that normally he misses shots like these because they happen so fast. But this fireball was visible for about 20 seconds.
“Once it was over, I just wanted to yell like a kid,” he said.
“It was about 45 seconds after it I was able to put the first photo up because I thought the world needed to see it.”
Zeller (@Neil_Zee) posted the pictures on Twitter, causing an immediate sensation.
The fireball in the sky was not a meteor, but a Chinese rocket booster that broke apart, said Maj. Martin O'Donnell, a spokesman for U.S. Strategic Command.
The rocket had launched a satellite on Dec. 27 and wasn't abnormally large, said O'Donnell. Angle of re-entry and weather conditions can make space objects look brighter from earth.
According to the American Meteor Society, more than 150 people from two provinces and nine western states reported seeing the fireballs.
With files from The Associated Press