Mon, 28 Jan 2013 19:45 CET
Roanoke, Virginia -- An object that looked like a giant fireball made a brief appearance in the sky at around 9:30pm Sunday -- and while no one can say with 100 percent certainty what it was, experts tell us they have a pretty good idea.
Aerospace Corporation -- a federally funded research and development center based in California that works with the Air Force and NASA -- says the timing and witness descriptions are consistent with a satellite that fell back into Earth's atmosphere.
That satellite, called Cosmos 1484, was launched by the Soviet Union back in 1983.
Sightings were reported from Canada all the way down to Georgia. Aerospace says that's a much greater distance than you typically see with these events, which is why they're continuing to investigate. The American Meteor Society received several dozen reports, including a handful from our region.
"I've never seen anything like this in all the meteor showers I've observed," posted Raymond, who lives in Amherst County.
"It had a glowing train that was sparking like it was on fire," wrote Sarah, who lives in Bassett.
We were unable to find anyone who had a picture or video of the fireball. Aerospace says it can be difficult to capture because these events usually last for less than a minute. There were no reports of any space debris hitting the ground. Aerospace says any falling pieces of the satellite likely landed in the ocean.