Flash in SWFL sky likely bright meteor, astronomer says

NAPLES, Fla. — The streak of light that many Southwest Flordians saw just past 11 p.m. Monday was likely a kind of meteor known as a bolide, an Everglades Astronomical Society official said.

A bolide is defined a large, extremely bright meteor. In this case, it was originally a roughly grape-sized piece of rock, said Mike Usher, the society’s webmaster. The rock exploded as it hit the Earth’s atmosphere.

The flash was impressive, but bolides aren’t rare, Usher said.

“You’d have to spend a number of nights outside under the stars before you’re likely to see one, but probably at any given time, a hundred bolides hit the earth every day,” Usher said.

Still, it’s unusual to see one prior to midnight in a densely populated area, according to Usher.

Many people who saw the streak had their own theories about what it was. Some thought it might be a flare or lightning. Others had more humorous suggestions.