‘Fireball’ spotted flying through sky in central Kentucky

WINCHESTER, Ky. (FOX 56) — If you were outside in central Kentucky on Friday morning, chances are you may have noticed something strange in the sky.

Christy Arnold was in Winchester, Kentucky at 7:30 a.m. when she noticed something unusual flying through the sky.

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  • “Fireball” seen in Winchester Friday morning (Christy Arnold)
    “Fireball” seen in Winchester Friday morning (Christy Arnold)
  • “Fireball” seen in Winchester Friday morning (Christy Arnold)
    “Fireball” seen in Winchester Friday morning (Christy Arnold)

“I pulled up to the stop light; of all things, I just happened to look up and see that,” Arnold said. “Looking at it, it just seemed so far out in the sky, and compared to the airplanes, it wasn’t an airplane. In comparison to the airplanes flying around it, it wasn’t moving.”

Arnold said it was suspended in the sky for a couple of minutes.

“I’ve thought of everything under the sun, and nobody has a clue as to what it could be, but I took a magnificent photo of it,” she said.


After a quick social media post, it became clear Arnold wasn’t the only one who saw it. Micah Riddle noticed the same phenomenon in Lexington.

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“Fireball” seen in Lexington on Friday morning (Micah Riddle)
“Fireball” seen in Lexington on Friday morning (Micah Riddle)

“I thought it seemed unusual, so I just zoomed in and snapped this shot,” Riddle said. “From a distance, it looked like it was sitting still. But when I zoomed in for this picture, you could see it gradually moving, but it did seem very slow.”

“I thought it looked like the trails that jets leave, but it was very orange in color, seemed a bit wider than the jet trails, and was similar to a comet in a way,” he elaborated.

Angela Owelech, of Lexington, also saw it in the sky. “I thought it looked very odd — definitely not an airplane.”

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University of Kentucky Professor of Physics and Astronomy Tom Troland said there are several possibilities for what it could be.

“It is hard to say what this object is,” he said.

“If it flashed across the sky in a second or a few seconds at most, it was likely a fireball, that is, a very bright meteor caused by an object (small asteroid) from interplanetary space entering the atmosphere and being heated to incandescence by friction with the air,” Troland said. “Note that meteors are sometimes called shooting stars. Another possibility is that the object was a fragment of a satellite in low Earth orbit that plunged through the atmosphere.”

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