The meteor spotted headed from Ottawa to Montreal that was burning bright in the night sky.
© Sam Berrada
The meteor spotted headed from Ottawa to Montreal that was burning bright in the night sky.
Stargazers in parts of Quebec and Ontario were treated to a spectacular sight Friday night: a mysterious "fireball" shooting across the night sky.

One cottager near St. Agathe described a fluorescent green ball with a red tail, visible for roughly five seconds, with some Twitter users describing the ball as bright blue.

Marc Andrew, who is located in l'Épiphanie, told CTV he saw a ball of vivid orange and red coming from the northwest.

"I've seen shooting stars, but I haven't seen anything like this," he said, adding, "It was exactly like what you see in the movies."


Paul Simard is president of the RASC Montreal Centre, part of a Canada-wide network under the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada banner. He did not see the fireball but said it was likely a meteor.

"The observations indicated that it appeared blue so it may have a high concentration of magnesium in it, or it could be that it came in very fast (a meteor that comes in very fast glows brighter and is more bluesh than slower ones which are more reddish)," he said.

John Abbott College physics and astronomy professor Karim Jaffer explained further what the different colours suggest.

"The blueish colour does indicate strong magnesium content, and the red/orange colour that was also reported would show some oxygen/nitrogen content and maybe sodium as well. Iron would give some yellow tint," said Jaffer, who said if you see green flashes, it would mean magnesium, iron and perhaps nickel.

Reports of the event clocked in at around 10:40 p.m.

Ironically, the meteor spotting comes at the worst time of the month to view meteor activity, according to the American Meteor Society.

"During this period, the moon reaches its full phase on Sunday August 22nd," wrote author Robert Lunsford on the AMS site. "At that time the moon lies opposite the sun and remains above the horizon all night long. This is the worst time of the month to try and view meteor activity as the bright moon will obscure all but the brightest meteors."

Lunsford wrote "Meteor and How to Observe Them" in 2009, and said the AMS received 43 reports of the fireball, which he said is a meteor that is larger and brighter than normal. He said it was moving in a NNW to SSE direction over an area between Ottawa and Montreal.

"Most people only see 1-2 of these fireballs per lifetime as they only last a few seconds," he said.