Expert says more people seeing meteors because of home surveillance

Reporter: Nicole Gabe Writer: Jack Lowenstein
Published: Updated:
Credit: Barbara Kroeacek.

Monday night, people in Southwest Florida reached out to us about orange lights that floated across the night sky and then seemed to end in an explosion.

Experts we spoke to said what some viewers were able to record were likely meteor sightings.

When Barbara Kropacek was a little girl, she used to watch for meteors with her dad. Now, she watches with her husband and daughter with a little help.

“We get lots of excitement on our nest camera,” Kropacek said.

Monday night, their Nest camera recorded a meteor.

“We call a bright meteor a fireball, and this certainly would qualify,” said Derek Buzasi, an expert in astrophysics at FGCU.

Buzasi told us, while exciting, seeing and recording meteors is not unusual.

“It’s much more common than it used to be, and it’s not because meteors are becoming more common,” Buzasi said. “There’s a lot more cameras on at night, so we see them, and they get reported.”

Heather Preston, with Calusa Nature Center and Planetarium, told us seeing a meteor or a fireball creates opportunities.

“It’s much, much easier to study these things. It’s like crowdsourcing observations of these meteors,” Preston explained.

“I always love it when people notice things in the sky,” Buzasi said. “That’s very cool. I appreciate that.”

If you missed Monday night’s show from above, look up again. The Lyrids meteor shower is upon us.

“You’re going to want to watch for those meteoroids the night of April 21 and the night of April 22,” Preston said.

If you see a meteor, you can report it to the American Meteor society.

“To this day, you know maybe 50 some years later, I’m still looking up into the sky and hoping I’m going to see a shooting star,” Kropacek said. “So last night knowing what it was was spectacular for me.”

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