Last week an extraordinary event unfolded over the skies of Arizona. `What looked to be a fireball in the sky, was a meteor flying through the atmosphere. The meteor was seen north of Phoenix a little after 5 a.m. on February 26. According to eye witnesses, there was a “bright, green fireball” shooting through the sky. It was travelling from the North West to the South East and reached around the Mazatzal Peak. These celestial bodies are often seen throughout Arizona, but this event was broadcast for all eyes to see.
Comet Over Arizona
According to the American Meteor Society, “This is the best time of the month to view meteor activity as the moon will not be a factor at all,” This is due to the fact that the moon just entered a new cycle. While the moon is still barely visible, the sky is open to the eyes of many people out in Arizona. The stars are much more visible and any celestial body that is shooting through the sky may be seen from afar. This particular event, was a comet that was travelling over 50,000 mph according to Mike Hanley, a spokesperson for the American Meteor Society.
What is a Comet?
A comet, by definition, is “a celestial object consisting of a nucleus of ice and dust and, when near the sun, a “tail” of gas and dust particles pointing away from the sun.” Now, a very bright comet or meteor is referred to as a “fireball.” When these solar system bodies enter the Earth’s atmosphere, they begin to burn. This burning causes the streak of light within the sky that becomes what is described as the “fireball.” According to NASA, there are many more of these fireball reports during the Spring time. This may be due to the reheating of the area, or just because people are going outside during the night more often after the winter.