Did you see the fireball in the skies of Southwest and Central Florida Tuesday night?

For weeks, there's been hardly anything reported in Florida to the American Meteor Society, but suddenly at 9 p.m. it had a flurry of sightings.

The reports largely covered a triangle from Naples through Sanibel and Sarasota to Tampa Bay and across the I-4 corridor through Polk County to Leesburg, Sanford and DeLand.

Experts have ruled out both the Comet NEOWISE, which was supposed to be potentially seen later this week, and the upcoming Perseids.

"I can assure you that they are not related to the comet or the Perseid meteor shower next month," said Tom Segur, director of FSW James & Barbara Moore Observatory.

Brian Foshee's dashcam in Central Florida captured Tuesday night's flare on a YouTube video, with the 45-year-old father exclaiming to his family, "Look at that!"

But what we saw in Southwest Florida was remarkably vivid.

As I drove in Englewood about 1.5 miles from the Manasota Beach coast, a brilliant orb quietly whizzed by in somewhat cloudy conditions with only a star or two in view, seemingly just above the trees, which blocked a prolonged peek at it.

Others, saying it lasted up to 7.5 seconds, described a similar experience to the American Meteor Society, which only provided a first name and an initial for those reporting sightings. A man in Naples said it had "a glowing tail like a comet almost. The tail was bright and glowing like the ball in front. Half-green. Half-blue.

"It was amazing. The coolest thing I've seen. And I view every night it's clear," said Gary S. in Naples. "It was between me and the sky full of rain clouds. Low rain clouds. It looked so big. And I've seen hundreds of shooting stars. This was much closer."

"Very cool experience like nothing we have seen before. Awesome!" said Debbie M. in Sarasota, referring to it as a "glowing train that ended in a smoke trail of many colors and then quickly disappeared."

Stephen C. on Sanibel also used the glowing train reference, saying it was a "very bright green fireball. I've observed a handful of red in my life, but this is the first green one. Arcing quickly across evening sky from almost due west to due east. Very shallow trajectory. Spent many years in military looking at night sky. Top three sightings I've observed."

"Seen a lot of meteors in my life," said Fred H. in Bradenton. "This was the brightest and most colorful and longest I have ever seen. I am 57 years old."

"It was honestly the brightest meteor I have ever seen. From the naked eye it was massive," said Jourdan T. of Sarasota. "I thought it would be on the news!"

Well, here you go, Jourdan.

Last July, the meteor society determined that a similar event of a long-lasting fiery projectile that broke into several pieces over South Florida was space junk. The Air Force and, which tracks the rubbish, confirmed it was a Chinese CZ3 rocket body that reentered the atmosphere.

This time, however, Satview has no records of such debris approaching Earth Tuesday night. The next entry is expected on Sunday over the ocean between Africa and South America.

"Based on the duration it does not appear to be space trash; usually these events are tens of seconds or even minutes long," said Mike Hankey, operations director for the meteor society. "The comet is too far away to produce any meteor activity."

When Hankey and I first touched base, he had not received any video. But after I sent him a link to the Foshee clip I found, Hankey said he thought he knew what it was.

"Based on the dashcam video, I'd say it definitely looks like a natural fireball meteor," he said. "If you can encourage readers in the area who have doorbell cameras to check and share with us that'd be great."

We may never know for sure what fell out of the heavens.

"Unless they retrieve a piece of whatever it was, it's hard to know exactly what. Most meteors are chunks of rocky ice," said Heather Preston, planetarium director for Calusa Nature Center & Planetarium in Fort Myers. "There have been very few meteorites found in Florida."

So if it is a meteor, where did it come from?

"Most meteorites, the stuff that makes it to Earth's surface and persists, are not cometary fragments," Preston said. "They tend to be from the asteroid belt, Mars, the moon, etc., rather than from a comet."

The man with the video, Foshee, a professional entertainer for kid parties, said his family was headed home to Oviedo after four days in Helen, Ga.

"I was on the Florida Turnpike near Clermont headed southeast," Foshee told me. "It had a green glow like you see when copper burns."

Based on witness accounts, Hankey's team put together a trajectory route that showed it over Polk County, headed between Lake Okeechobee and Port St. Lucie, which is outside the triangle of the rest of the observations but might explain why one isolated woman from that city spotted it.

"It was truly beautiful," said Shannon H., detailing the colors as blue, green, light green and yellow. "I had no idea what a fireball was. It was amazing."