Eastern Kentucky Weather

Lights in the sky: A possible explanation

Brandon Robinson puts on his science cap and tries to break down what might have happened last night as lights and loud noises were spotted and heard in the sky across the mountains.

I was asleep when it all went down Tuesday night. Reports of lights in the sky and loud noises that sounded like explosions being reported from Laurel to Johnson County.

Can I say with 100% certainly what happened? No. But, based on some research, I can give you a pretty good idea.

It looks like the reports started coming in just after 8:30pm. Most folks say it was a bright light and sounded like an explosion.

Here's some video of the phenomenon from viewer Dorsie Allen in Jackson County. She caught it on her security camera:

If you want to see the full 18 second video, click on the link below:

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10201280713312499

Let's break down the important part of the video frame by frame.

Frame 1 (Here's when the object first appears):

Frame 2 (Object is midway through the sky): 

Frame 3 (Object starts to disappear from the video):

NASA has a network called the All Sky Fireball Network  They have cameras on the Earth that point toward the sky with the specific purpose of catching instances like these on tape.

Here's where their cameras are located:

As you can tell, most of their cameras are relatively close to us geographically.

Here's what one of their cameras captured a little later (taken about 2:15am) than Dorsie's:

The event log (a summary of what the camera picked up) shows they believed their image was a meteor.

Here's a picture to explain what the picture above means.

Based on what I've been able to gather, it appears we got to see part of a meteor shower last night. Those were the bright lights being spotted in the sky. As for the loud sounds, or even possibly what sounded like explosions, I believe those were either small impacts from meteorites or more likely, the sound of the fragments breaking the sound barrier as they burned up in the atmosphere.

All in all, it sounds like a pretty cool light show that became the talk of the town. Feel free to email (brandon.robinson@wymt.com), Facebook (Brandon Robinson WYMT 57 Mountain News) or send me a Twitter message (@wymtbrobinson) if you have any questions.

If we find out anything else for sure about our meteors (or meteorites if any hit the ground), we'll let you know.

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