Seattle, Washington - What was that bright light?

Several people called KOMO Thursday evening to report they had just witnessed a brilliant light streak across the southern skies.

"It's amazing, it was probably a 3-second little light show," said one caller.

"And I saw what I thought was a shooting star and it shot across the sky and it was white -- and you could see a tail," said another.

Stephen Moran with the American Astronomical Society says based on reports, the second caller was on the right track.

"Normally when you say 'shooting star', it's not all that bright -- something you can see on any dark night if you wait long enough," Moran told KOMO 1000 News. "But one that got the attention of people while they're driving -- that's rarer and much brighter and called a 'fireball.' You will normally see them for a few seconds. Some very big ones you can see for maybe 10 seconds. It's just a very small piece of space debris, maybe just the tip of a comet or asteroid that comes too close to the Earth and falls to the atmosphere and burns up."

The streak could be related to the Taurid Meteor Shower, which spans several weeks in the autumn and Thursday was just a few days after the peak. Astronomers report this year's shower has had several fireball sightings.

Moran says while these meteor bits burn up long before it hits the ground, scientists have found that tiny, microscopic pieces of these meteor strikes will survive and trickle down to Earth.

"Statistically, there's probably one or two pieces in your hair right now," Moran said of "space dust" due to past meteor burn-ups over the ages.

Here are some images captured a few days ago in the Midwest, for those that saw Thursday night's streak to compare.

If you captured images or video of the event, or perhaps have a surveillance or web camera that might have captured the event, e-mail us or post it in our YouNews site and we might show it on air.