NASA has given its verdict after jaw-dropping footage of a ‘fireball crashing to Earth’ left the Internet baffled.
Amateur photographer Howard Gowan shot the mind-boggling clip from a tower attached to his assisted-living facility.
The 75-year-old then shared the video online, sparking discussion as to whether he’d accidentally caught a meteor plunging to the ground.
“I’m in an assisted living facility and attached to it is a six-storey penthouse tower with a 360-degree view that I have access to," Howard said.
“I often go up for sunrises and sunsets, and I was there around 7am, just looking at the sunrise, when I happened to turn and look to the south and there was this big old fireball.
“I was very excited. I said ‘my gosh, I have never seen something like that.’”
The elderly man, from Holly Hill, Florida, US, was mystified – and so was the Internet.
“I have a friend from the UK, Patrick Rooney, and he picked it up and said something about how it was a meteor,” he continued.
“I looked at Facebook again that afternoon and people were in a big discussion about there being an unknown meteor shower.”
Some even suggested that there was an alien explanation.
Howard added: “I had no idea what it was, except it looked awful big and I did determine that it was moving away from me.
“When it got so low, it looked like it exploded, but I think it just went behind some clouds.”
But reviewing the clip, NASA determined that – however bizarre the object looked – there was nothing to fear.
“It’s a jet contrail, illuminated by the rising sun,” said an official.
“The two tails are a dead giveaway.”
Howard said: “I tend pretty much to believe that, except it just looked so big and I had never seen anything like that before, but NASA are pretty sharp.”
“I feel so good that it did stir all this excitement – and it was exciting, because it’s something you don’t normally see and I was the lucky one who got to share it.”
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