It was not the primary time in latest reminiscence that individuals have puzzled about seemingly mysterious actions overhead.

In December 2018, the sky over New York City erupted in a blue light. People theorized about a U.F.O. flyby or an alien invasion, although the trigger turned out to be a transformer explosion at a Con Edison substation. In 2015, a 500-pound meteor streaked by the sky above western Pennsylvania triggering a sonic increase, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported. More not too long ago, in October, a increase shook homes in New Hampshire, giving rise to theories that an earthquake or an plane was responsible. (Satellite imagery, nonetheless, prompt a meteor exploded within the ambiance above the state.)

In Pittsburgh on Saturday, Ms. Lake mentioned that no person reported seeing something “below the cloud deck,” which was about 2,000 ft above the bottom. Ms. Lake thinks the meteor may have been “a couple of thousand feet” above the bottom, however not under the cloud cowl.

For now, a meteor explosion is one of the best principle about what occurred over Pittsburgh on Saturday, Ms. Lake mentioned, although it’ll stay simply that — a principle — “unless someone finds some rocks in their backyard,” she mentioned.

Ms. Turnshek, the Carnegie Mellon lecturer, mentioned that what she and others in Pittsburgh skilled on New Year’s Day was “rare and notable,” a “once-in-a-lifetime event.”

Despite the rarity, there isn’t any scarcity of films depicting the risks of a meteor, asteroid or comet crashing to Earth (together with “The Day the Sky Exploded,” “Meteor,” “Armageddon” and the latest “Don’t Look Up”).

Astronomers are looking out for such issues, Ms. Turnshek mentioned. “If we had found a large body incoming,” one of the best resolution would in all probability be to “send a rocket to sit next to it, and the gravitational pull of the rocket will pull it off course.”

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