It's a bird. It's a plane. It's a meteor. Fireball cruises across Northeast Ohio sky

If you were lucky enough to be looking up Thursday night, you might have caught a glimpse of a meteor soaring through the sky over Northeast Ohio.

Jim Sullivan, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Cleveland, said there were reports as far north as Michigan and as far south as North Carolina of a fireball in the night sky around 7:30 p.m.

Hundreds of reports came into the American Meteor Society from Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York, Tennessee, Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina.

"There's not a ton but everyone once in a while we get a fireball meteor," he said. "It's relatively uncommon but every week or two, they can be seen across the country."

Sullivan said those who catch a glimpse are pretty lucky.

Fireball:Mississippi residents felt shaking and heard loud booms. It was a fireball flying at 55,000 mph.

"It's the luck of the draw if you happen to be looking up to the sky and see one," he said.

This meteor appeared to be larger, brighter and lasted longer than most, Sullivan added. The clear sky also made it easier to see.

Suzie Dills, director of the Hoover Price Plantarium at the Wm. McKinley Presidential Library & Museum, explained shooting stars or meteors could be as small as a grain of sand or up to 300 feet wide before they are considered an asteroid.

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"It had to be a pretty good chunk of rock when it hit the atmosphere to see that flash of light for a longer duration and be that spectacular," she said.

Back in the early days of the solar system, there were many collisions causing a lot of space rock that still floats around in space, she said. When that debris is pulled into Earth by gravity, it enters the atmosphere and the drag causes it to burn up and cause fireballs and streaks of light.

Dills said Thursday's meteor could have been a precursor to the Geminid meteor shower that will reach its peak Dec. 13 and 14.

She explained when comets interact with the sun, the tail of the comet is often left behind leaving a debris field of dust and ice. Each year, the earth must move through the debris field, bringing on meteor showers.

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In a dark area, during a meteor shower, Dills said she has witnessed 50 to 80 shooting stars in a two-hour time period.

There were no reports of the meteor striking the ground, as most of them enter the atmosphere and burn up.

"You could have one on any given night and that's pretty cool that a lot of people did get to see it (last night)," Dills added.

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This article originally appeared on The Independent: Meteor passes over Northeast Ohio sky