Meteor fireball over Shandong, China
© YouTube/Ordo News (screen capture)
The Chinese Meteor Monitoring Organization (CMMO) runs an automated camera in Shandong Province, monitoring meteor activity above the coast of the Yellow Sea. According to on Aug. 16th, it caught the brightest fireball in years. A space rock exploded in the atmosphere over the city of Linyi, turning the midnight sky blue.

"The meteor illuminated the whole earth and shook the landscape with a loud sound," reports CMMO staff member Zhou Kun. "The flash of light, which peaked at 22:59 pm local time, was widely observed across the Shandong and Jiangsu provinces of China."

A video of the event was shared on YouTube:

Kun estimates the astronomical magnitude of the flash to be -20, more than 900 times brighter than a full Moon (albeit not as bright as the sun). If so, that would make it a rare fireball indeed. According to a NASA computer model of Earth's meteoroid environment, a fireball of that magnitude could be a decade class event.

More information about this event (including a possible meteorite debris zone) may become available as the CMMO team analyzes "a large number of eye-witness reports," says Kun.