Fireball spotted in skies from Chicago to Japan

Dylan Stableford

Hundreds of people from Chicago to Japan reported seeing a fireball streaking across the sky on Monday night.

According to researchers at the American Meteor Society, which tracks these larger-than-normal meteors, there were nearly 400 reports of a fireball in more than a dozen states, including Alabama, Virginia, Tennessee and Illinois.

Steve Sobel captured footage of a streaking light over Chicago, where there were at least nine reports from eyewitnesses of the mysterious object.

"I looked up, and I just saw this bright light that looked kind of like a comet or something," Sobel told WGN-TV. "With the naked eye you could see fragments coming off the back of it, like it was something burning up."

In North Carolina, residents of Greensboro, High Point, Asheville, Fayetteville and Raleigh reported seeing a fireball around 6:20 p.m., about an hour before Sobel's sighting.

According to one witness near Charlotte, the sighting caused some drivers to "slam on their brakes."

Meanwhile in western Japan, there were multiple sightings of "a sparkling light racing across the sky," the BBC reports. One was captured on video at Fukuoka Airport.

It's not clear if the sightings across the U.S. and Japan were of the same object, though it's not likely.

Mike Hankey, operations manager for the American Meteor Society, told the Chicago Tribune that while the object on the East Coast "was definitely a fireball," the one in Chicago's sky "was most likely manmade" — possibly "a flare from a boat on Lake Michigan."