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Journalist Accidentally Captures Terrifying Fireball Flying Across The Sky During Live Report

by : Julia Banim on : 13 Apr 2021 16:44
Journalist Accidentally Captures Terrifying Fireball Flying Across The Sky During Live Reportjayobtv/Twitter

A journalist has unwittingly captured a terrifying fireball hurtling across the sky during a live news report.

CBS12 reporter Jay O’Brien had been covering a story about an affordable senior housing complex in West Palm Beach, Florida, where residents had lost power.

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Suddenly, a ‘big flash and streak’ could be seen flying across the sky, in a surprise occurrence captured while O’Brien and the team were on Facebook Live.

The flash happened while O’Brien was walking around the neighbourhood, and his understandable shock at the sudden burst of light was caught on camera.

O’Brien could be heard to exclaim:

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Oh my gosh, what is THAT in the sky? WHOA! OK. Big piece of flash in the sky just then. I don’t know if you saw that. Possibly a piece of space junk burning up in orbit?

Sometimes they look like that. I’ll ask around and figure out what that was. That was startling.

Remaining professional despite the bizarre interruption, O’Brien added:

Let’s get back to the story at hand, which is this apartment complex.

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CBS News’s meteorologist Zach Covey later clarified that the big flash was in fact ‘a chunk of an asteroid known as 2021 GW4’ which had been ‘scheduled to make an extremely close approach of only 16,000 miles’.

At approximately 14 feet, the asteroid is said to be roughly the size of a car and made its closest approach at 9,300 miles a proximity, which is said to be ‘much closer than the expect 16,000 mile approach forecast’.

Covey tweeted:

To put this in perspective, most close approach asteroids are between one and three million miles from earth.

16,000 is an extreme approach. Earths atmosphere runs roughly 6,200 miles up. It’s possible that this asteroid survived a brush by and didn’t break up upon close entry.

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He added, ‘It didn’t make contact with earth, only did a pass by in the atmosphere. Tracking stations confirm it’s on its way for a close pass by the moon before continuing beyond the asteroid belt.’

According to Covey, the asteroid will now ‘make a close approach to the moon before being slung out beyond the asteroid belt’.

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As per NASA’s Center for Near Earth Object Studies, 2021 GW4 was first detected on April 8 by astronomers at Mt. Lemmon Survey, part of an asteroid discovery project known as the Catalina Sky Survey. More than 500 asteroids have already been spotted this year alone.

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Julia Banim

Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.

Topics: News, Florida, Now, Space

Credits

Jay O'Brien/Twitter and 1 other
  1. Jay O'Brien/Twitter

    @jayobtv

  2. NASA's Center for Near Earth Object Studies

    Discovery Statistics