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About 8 p.m. Wednesday, something peculiar flashed in the sky -- something twinkly, something colorful, something eye-catching.
Something strange. And blue. Or green. Or blue-green.
"Bright blue-green ball with a white tail," says Jim Neal of Shelby, who spotted it just west of Blacksburg, S.C., after dinner at Kelly's Steak House.
"A greenish-like light low in the sky," says Julie Bigham, driving home from church with her kids near Matthews. "We thought a small plane or helicopter was going to crash."
"A slow-moving bluish glow," says David Whitesides who works in Polkton and who watched it while soaking in his hot tub.
"Large, bright green ball," says Brett Lay, who was headed to Chick-fil-A in Gastonia with his wife and four children after church. "Had a haze about it."
"Almost looked like a flare," reports Amy Bromberg, who was on Interstate 485. "Kind of creepy."
Venus, perhaps? It's often a suspect in UFO sightings, particularly when it's as bright as it is right now.
Not Venus. It vanished beneath the horizon about 7 p.m.
Nope. All aircraft accounted for.
Space junk? Errant satellite?
Negative, says NORAD. No re-entries of the sizable man-made objects they track.
OK. So ... alien object?
Bingo. But not the E.T. variety.
"A fireball," says Daniel Caton, observatory director and astronomy professor at Appalachian State University in Boone.
Based on the reports, Caton believes it was an unusually bright meteor that burned up about 30 miles high in the atmosphere somewhere above Charlotte. Sightings came from more than 100 miles away.
Many witnesses say the light appeared to fizzle at the end and break into pieces, making it a special kind of fireball called a bolide. In the universe of meteors, they're A-List entertainers, known for their splashy finales.
Originally posted by Doc Velocity
Shelby is in North Carolina, about 45 miles west of Charlotte. The story stated that Jim Neal is from Shelby; he made his sighting after visiting a restaurant in Blacksburg, SC, which is about 10 miles or so south of Shelby, NC.
— Doc Velocity