Tucson, Arizona - A fireball hurtled across the southern Tucson sky in broad daylight Saturday morning, startling and inspiring awe in those who saw it.

Chelsey Dever was working a yard sale at her grandmother's house on the Northwest Side around 10:30, she said, when she looked toward the south and saw the ball arcing through the sky.

"At first I was like, 'Is that an airplane that's on fire?' " she said. Then she realized it wasn't. The other two people outside with her at the time didn't see it.

Across town, Catherine O'Sullivan was riding her bicycle southbound on Sabino Canyon Road when she looked up and saw it, she said.

"It looked like someone put a fiery ball in a catapult and launched it," she said.
O'Sullivan said she used to work in a planetarium and was guessing the fireball was a "bollide" - a big meteorite.

"For one to come this close in the atmosphere and be seen during the day, it's just unheard of," she said.

Richard Dougall, equipment loan coordinator for the Tucson Amateur Astronomy Association, said he was thrilled to see the meteor as he drove south on Kolb Road.

"It was a fireball. It was beautiful," he said. "I've been in seventh heaven all morning."

He was so entranced, he almost forgot to pay attention to his driving, he said.
When asked how common it is to see such a thing in broad daylight, he responded, "Not."

"I've always wanted to see one in daytime," he said.

He's been a member of the astronomy group since 2001 and has seen quite a few at night, he said.

This one had the bright reddish-orange color of a road flare, he said.
He guessed that it was probably 200 or 300 miles to the south, maybe farther, but said it's always hard to tell.

Even though it's unusual to see a meteor or meteorite during the day, Dougall said they are pretty common.

"The Earth gets struck constantly by meteorites. Constantly," he said.