Minutes before she sat down to watch television Monday night, Marcie Kinney was beckoned by her husband and son to step outside of their Grant-Valkaria home.

A red fireball streaked across the sky from west to east just above the tree line.

"Look up! Look up!" they shouted. It only took seconds for Kinney to run into the yard, but the fireball was already dropping out of sight over the horizon.

"It was coming straight down, leaving black wisps of smoke," she said.

Mark Howard, director of the Brevard Community College Planetarium, said it's likely that Kinney saw a meteor, possibly one from the little-known Quadrandit meteor showers, which peak on Thursday.

Terry Oswalt, a professor of physics and space sciences at Florida Tech, agreed that what Kinney and her family saw was likely a pea-sized meteor or a piece of space debris.

The Earth is constantly bombarded with thousands of chunks of cosmic debris the size of sand granules, Oswalt said. About once a night, something as big as a pea called a bolide and large enough for a casual observer to see with the naked eye shoots through the sky.

"That may have been what she saw," he said.

Oswalt was taking his garbage out around the same time in his Suntree neighborhood but didn't see anything.