A fireball spotted up and down the East Coast and across Canada early Tuesday was spectacularly caught on film by a dashboard camera mounted to a police cruiser in Portland, Maine.
Officer Graham Hults of the Portland Police Department can be heard saying “Oh my God” in video footage released by law enforcement Tuesday morning as a fireball soared through the sky above Portland just before 1 a.m.
The cop was in a parked cruiser searching for speeders with Sgt. Tim Farris at around 12:50 a.m. when the fireball streaked over the city for around two full seconds while the car’s dashcam was recording.
“You never know what you are going to see on duty,” the Portland Police said in a Facebook post where the video footage was posted Tuesday morning. Within 12 hours, the clip had been shared more than 4,000 times.
On the American Meteor Society website, however, eyewitness accounts indicate the two police officers were hardly the only ones to witness the phenomenon. The AMS received more than 330 reports as of Tuesday afternoon from spectators who say they spotted the fireball in eight states and parts of Ontario and Québec.
“Very loud rumbling like thunder that shook my whole house,” an Andover, Maine resident wrote on the AMS website of the fireball
“A brilliant white fireball growing larger then turning brilliant green as it then just disappeared,” wrote a Boston man.
A fireball is a term used a very bright meteor, according to the AMS. Several thousand fall towards Earth every day, the society states on its website, but few end up being seen, let alone captured on camera.