Fireball lights up night sky over Edmonton

A few Edmonton-area skywatchers reported seeing a huge fireball light up the sky above northern Alberta Thursday night.

Mysterious object seen descending Thursday night

Some stargazers in the Edmonton area reported seeing a large fireball streak across the sky Thursday night. (Fred Thornhill/Reuters)

A few Edmonton-area skywatchers reported seeing a huge fireball light up the sky above northern Alberta Thursday night.

Dozens of people took to social media to report that a meteor was spotted around 10:45 p.m. above the Edmonton skyline. 

"I was looking out my balcony when I saw a bright ball of light flying through the air," wrote one witness on Reddit.

"It eventually disappeared/broke up mid flight!" 

Six people from Edmonton to Crossfield, Alta., filed reports of fireball sightings to the American Meteor Society on Thursday evening.  

One reporter said the mysterious object glowed like a train and even sparkled a bit as it flashed over Edmonton. 

The University of Alberta's Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences is also investigating multiple reports. 

'Falling from the sky'

Scott Furry was on his balcony in northeast Edmonton when he saw a large orange streak "falling from the sky." 

He emailed CBC Edmonton to report the strange sight. 

"It was not clear if this was a large piece of space junk, meteorite, or aircraft," Furry wrote.

"The tail of the debris was quite long and moderately bright ... I expect 911 call centres are busy at the moment." 

Mike Noble managed to capture the last few seconds of the fireball flash during a night photography session near Legal, Alta. (Mike Noble)

Mark Zalcik, an amateur astronomer with the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, also spotted the fireball low in the sky. He was parked in north Edmonton when something caught his eye. 

"I was just looking out the windshield and just out of the corner of my eye, I saw a bright light moving light and as I focused in on it, it disappeared behind some trees," Zalcik said in an interview with CBC News on Friday.

"It was a pretty bright fireball. It was a deep orange colour and it left behind kind of an orange-coloured wake." 

Zalcik said it's possible a piece of rock survived its fiery flight through the Earth's atmosphere. He's hopeful something will be recovered. 

"It's needle in a haystack kind of proposition," he said. "It all depends on the number of the reports and the accuracy of the reports. It's really hard to say." 

Zalcik said meteorites are common but are not always spotted on their fall to Earth. Even fewer are ever recovered.

"If you're lucky, you get lots of fragmentation," he said. "If you see little sparks coming from the fireball, that's a good sign because that means several pieces may have fallen." 

After the fireball lit up the night sky, the northern lights were also dancing in the Alberta sky Thursday night. (Mike Noble)

About the Author

Wallis Snowdon


Wallis Snowdon is a digital journalist with CBC Edmonton. She has nearly a decade of experience reporting behind her. Originally from New Brunswick, her journalism career has taken her from Nova Scotia to Fort McMurray. Share your stories with Wallis at wallis.snowdon@cbc.ca