Fireball screams across the prairies
It's clear what most people across Alberta, Saskatchewan, even pockets of residents in Manitoba and North Dakota were talking about Thursday night.
Shortly after 5:30 p.m. local Mountain Time, CTV newsrooms and various media outlets were inundated with calls and emails that a giant fireball had streaked across the sky.
It's believed to be a meteor, but according to Alan Dyer with the Telus World of Science in Calgary, confirmation of what it was and where it landed may not be known for a few more days.
Nevertheless, the spectacular light display in the night sky demanded the attention of many who were either at home, driving or just outside.
"All of a sudden the sky just lit up and I saw this huge ball of fire coming down from the sky." said Albertan Sandy Wallin.
It seemed, depending on where people caught the light show, there were varying descriptions. Most witnesses described the event at first as a reddish or orange light that blazed across the sky and then exploded into a fireball.
Rob Westland witnessed the object while driving his son home from volleyball practice in Patricia, Alberta, He described the fireball as white, blue and green and the entire event lasted only seconds.
People living in northern Alberta and Saskatchewan believed the light streaked near the provinces' borders and made contact with earth there.
"I saw this brilliant light coming down from the sky to the south and... it was so bright that it almost blinded me to look at it." said Donna Wesley who was driving at the time.
Davidson Family was driving from Red Deer to Edmonton when he saw the luminous object that he said had a tail.
"I hear like this thing, it's like a jet or something, and I look and it's like this big white flash."
"As it goes through the atmosphere at ultrasonic speeds, huge speeds, it causes the air around it to glow and light up." Alan Dyer said. He believes the object is likely a meteor or "meteorite" if it hit the earth. "This by all reports, it was very quick, very fast, and so that suggests it's from the asteroid belt, it's a piece of natural space debris."
Dyer says there's a number of cameras across the province for university researchers and it will take time for them to go through the photos to figure out what it was.
Officials at the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) confirmed whatever was seen was not man-made and does not pose a threat to security.