SEATTLE — Captured in black and white surveillance video shot from his Rainier Valley home is proof that Corey Clark’s backyard did light up late Monday night.
“We just kind of saw this bright flash and kind of looked at each other and went ‘woah,'” said Clark.
Clark is a tech worker by day and an amateur photographer by day off. He was one of many in western Washington to either capture or see the boom and bright green glow of a meteor around 11 p.m. on Monday.
“You could see the streaking coming from the south to the north and it just getting bigger and brighter as it came further into the atmosphere,” Clark said.
A few miles north there was another sighting. Video from Daniel Cohen’s dash cams as he and his wife were driving north on Interstate 5 near Mount Lake Terrace captures the same glow.
So what exactly are we looking at? Dr. Chris Laws from the University of Washington said it’s likely a rock, roughly the size of a baseball, possibly as large as a basketball, exploding into pieces.
“By the time that they pass through a handful of miles of the Earth's atmosphere, though, that really changes their behavior and, again, you get the sort of exploding phenomenon that apparently so many people got to see last night,” Laws said.
Could a big one hit Earth? Sure. But Laws said the scientific community is better than ever at identifying what is falling and where – and most disintegrate well above the nearest airliner.
“The good news is that in the late 1980s we knew about one percent of the total population that’s out there. Now the number is in the mid-ninety percent," Laws said, adding that none of the meteors are an immediate threat. "So, the good news is we’re paying better attention and it seems we are in good shape."