LAS VEGAS - The mysterious glow lit up the skies over Arizona, California, and Nevada. The bright light was seen flying over the neon of Las Vegas.
A NASA scientist believes a small asteroid caused the bright meteor. College of Southern Nevada Planetarium Director Dale Etheridge agrees.
"This one was probably an asteroid, an asteroid fragment," he said.
Scientists say a tiny chunk of an asteroid became a meteor when it hit the atmosphere.
"It was something probably on the size of an order to a marble or a golf ball, burned up entirely, never made it to the ground," Etheridge said.
Seeing a shooting star, many made wishes. Others are still intrigued. Peter Davenport is director of the National UFO Reporting Center.
"It's definitely too early to say that it's a meteor," he said. "One would not expect a person to be witness to a meteor for 45 or 50 seconds."
Some long-time Las Vegas residents may be experiencing déjà vu.
In April 1962, a "weird object (was) seen through the entire west". The brilliant, red fireball was described as a meteorite. Some Las Vegans feared it was a visitor from outer space or a misplaced rocket.
The mysterious object, shooting a flame from its tail, landed in Eureka, Utah, suddenly took off and ended its cross-country journey in Mesquite with a massive explosion.
An Air Force intelligence report reveals the falling meteor explanation is "questioned". That is one reason UFO buffs are skeptical about the explanation of the 1962 incident, as well as the one Wednesday night.
"I believe that the planet Earth is being visited routinely by these objects, which for now, about 64 years, we have called UFOs," Davenport said. "Our government is shielding the American people from that information for some reason. That I find very, very unsettling."
People called the 8 News NOW newsroom and flooded the 8 News NOW Facebook page Wednesday night. The incident also generated a buzz on Twitter.
If you saw the UFO over Las Vegas, you can file a report with the National UFO Reporting Center.
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