A bright fireball was spotted by several observers Tuesday, June 23 over Tucson and other parts of southern Arizona. It was a space rock that broke apart dramatically as it streaked into Earth's atmosphere - a "shooting star" on steroids. Such events are not uncommon, but most are not seen because they occur over the oceans, or late at night when few people are watching, or during the day when they are not visible.

One observer compared it to a memorable 1992 event known as the Peekskill Fireball.

The Arizona fireball "looked very similar to the Peekskill one," writes Carl Hergenrother on the Transient Sky blog. "The colors are a close match with the head of the main fireball and pieces a brilliant blue-green while the long tails appeared reddish. Birth fireballs also produced many fragments which broke off the main body and quickly fell behind."

A "series of loud sonic booms heard from Tucson southward," Hergenrother writes, based on the accounts of others. He does not think the Arizona fireball lasted as long as the Peekskill event, however.

The Peekskill fireball was recorded by many observers along the East Coast of the United States - some of whom were out with their video cameras watching football games - around 7:50 pm, on Friday, Oct. 9, 1992. Check it out: