|Occurred : 9/17/2017 00:56 (Entered as : 09/17/17 00:56)
Reported: 9/17/2017 11:07:25 AM 11:07
Location: Crystal City, VA
|Large Fireball Observed in the Sky close to the Pentagon
A friend and I were returning to our hotel (The Westin) in Crystal City, VA, from a diner. We were at the crossing of S Eads Street and 20th Street S (38.855640, -77.053176) between two large buildings.
At approximately 00:56 EST we observed a large fireball or flash rapidly move East to West between in the Northern horizon. Note we were facing North as we observed the object moving East to West. If facing North from out vantage point it would have been at a 45 degree angle in the sky and close enough to where it looked as if it flew over the George Washington Memorial Highway, approximately .4 to .5 miles from our location. Note, this is in the flight path of the DCA Ronald Reagan National Airport, however checking flight records there were no arrival or departure flights during the time period of the sighting. Furthermore, this would have been directly over the airport and we would suspect it would be normal to not see aircraft from our vantage point as this was in direct path of the airport and craft would be taking off and landing from fields of view not within our sight path.
Also the object was so bright it illuminated the buildings and ground that were around us, where a plane light would have not provided sufficient illumination. No noise was heard coming from the object either, it was a very quiet night, even for the relatively busy area we were in, and no aircraft noise or anything else affiliated with the craft could be heard. Using basic trigonometry with estimations for the angle of object (tangent) and perceived distance (adjacent) I would estimate the object was approximately 4,000 feet in the air (2,500 * tan(45) = height).
In summary, I observed an unusually bright large blue/green rapidly moving fireball in the northern horizon above the George Washington Memorial Highway/DCA Reagan Airport moving East to West at approximately 4,000 feet. I believe an obvious explanation for the sighting would likely include a fireball meteor event, however, after observing multiple examples from youtube of meteors and fireballs each of these have a significant trail and are very high in the sky and rapidly fizzle out. This object was not fizzling out and was cruising along with a minimal haze or trail (I hesitate to say there was a trail) behind the object and was very low.
I do realize the Southern Taurids meteor shower is technical active during the time period of the sighting, but it is not at its height of activity until October. I was unable to locate a database to identify whether any fireballs or meteor events were observable from my location during the time period of the sighting.
((NUFORC Note: Witness elects to remain totally anonymous; provides little contact information. PD))