UPDATE: Sight in the sky over West Seattle – meteor? (or maybe the missile-defense test?)

ORIGINAL REPORT, 10:08 PM SATURDAY: Getting multiple messages about a sight in the sky over West Seattle in the past 15 minutes or so – Jill described it as “an awesome meteor traveling northward, looking east from Admiral/Belvidere.” Anyone else?

10:15 PM: Checking Twitter – still the best place to check real-time reports – we see reports from all over the Northwest – Astoria, OR, to Victoria, B.C., among others.

10:48 PM: Our local sky specialist Alice Enevoldsen points us to the American Meteor Society website, where you can report sightings, and that site in turn reminds us we’re just 2 weeks from the Perseid shower’s peak.

11:05 AM SUNDAY: We don’t know yet if the time frame matches, but the government announced this morning that it conducted a missile-defense test in Alaska overnight – here’s one of the reports, and here’s the government news release. Worth noting that one of the Missile Defense Agency‘s radar vessels, SS Pacific Tracker, was in West Seattle recently; the day it left (July 21st), MarineTraffic.com last showed it headed north, off the west coast of Vancouver Island. The test was preceded by an alert, according to this report that includes video of a test earlier this month.

11:20 AM SUNDAY: Again, we don’t know if this was or wasn’t what was seen here – but the Missile Defense Agency website now has video of the test:

Still haven’t seen any word on exactly when the test happened.

101 Replies to "UPDATE: Sight in the sky over West Seattle - meteor? (or maybe the missile-defense test?)"

  • Jim July 29, 2017 (10:14 pm)

    We are in Sammamish and saw it, definitely largest shooting star we have seen.

    • Luke July 29, 2017 (11:32 pm)

      Certainly saw it while at the Torchlight Parade.  It seemed to glow blueish white and went pretty slowly too.  Definitely caught us all off guard.

    • Heather Adams July 30, 2017 (7:55 am)

      A beautiful sight seen in West Kelowna BC while sitting on a friends balcony. It was big, colourful, low in the sky moving slowly on Saturday July 29, before 10pm.

    • Mark Everett July 30, 2017 (4:45 pm)

      I saw it from Renton Highlands but noone else at the party saw it or believed me and they talked about doing an intervention on me!

      • Laurie July 31, 2017 (1:44 pm)

        I live in Rolling Hills neighborhood of Renton and we saw a meteor, bright greenish blue, but it was around 2am. 

  • Byron G McLean July 29, 2017 (10:18 pm)

    I’ve seen the beautiful display and I believe it’s possibly a meteor or just space junk re-entering the earth! Either way it was an amazing experience!I’m in White Center by the way.

  • Lisa July 29, 2017 (10:19 pm)

    Saw it from 37th in Genesee neighborhood. AWEsome!

  • Mar July 29, 2017 (10:21 pm)

    We were sitting on our deck and we saw a light flash by, we think it was a meteor. We also saw it when it burnt out. It was superlow altitude, it was awesome!

  • Kim July 29, 2017 (10:25 pm)

    We saw it from Green Lake. Colors of blue, red, green. Lasted 8 seconds. It seemed close to earth.

  • chris July 29, 2017 (10:30 pm)

    saw it in Bothell, huge streak

  • Alice July 29, 2017 (10:31 pm)

    I always check: http://www.amsmeteors.org/members/imo_view/browse_reports?event=PENDING

    -Alice

    • WSB July 29, 2017 (10:33 pm)

      Thanks! I knew there was a site like that and hadn’t found it via search yet – hoped you were out there – TR

  • Jodi July 29, 2017 (10:34 pm)

    We are sitting in front of Prost in WS and saw it. It was awesome! 

  • Jeneka July 29, 2017 (10:40 pm)

    We saw it while crossing Fauntleroy  @ Raymond…wow!

  • Lupe July 29, 2017 (10:42 pm)

    We saw it too. We are just north of white center. It looked low. We first thought it was fireworks. It was green and headed north. 4 of us have never seen anything like that before. Amazing. 

    • Pops July 29, 2017 (11:10 pm)

      We were on the Clinton-Mukilteo ferry about 10pm and saw it fly right over us in a northwest direction.  It seemed like it was only a few hundred feet off the ground.  At first I thought it was a firework or a drone.  Never seen anything like it.

  • Nicole July 29, 2017 (10:49 pm)

    While doing yardwork with some of my family we saw the meteor. It was so bright and so close my mother initially thought it was a firework.

  • Nikki July 29, 2017 (10:57 pm)

    I am with other West Seattle residents in Allyn, WA and saw this too! Lasted at least 5 seconds with a rainbow like trail. Looked like a comet or something? Amazing 

  • David July 29, 2017 (10:58 pm)

    It was amazing we saw it in Woodinville.  Traveled about 120 degrees through the horizon.  Very bright.

  • Mitch Findlay July 29, 2017 (11:00 pm)

    We saw it in south side of Anacortes.

    Seemed to burn out over our heads. Was red and orange and moving slowly north.

    Fantastic long trail of debris 

  • Spencer July 29, 2017 (11:05 pm)

    We were driving north on I-5 past Northgate & Shoreline area when seeing it out to the west… Instantly thought meteor or some kind of debris entering atmosphere… Definitely a show-stopping beautiful sight… 

  • Jon July 29, 2017 (11:05 pm)

    Not like anything i’d ever seen in the sky before! So great! What a sight. 

  • Testing July 29, 2017 (11:12 pm)

    North Korean missile shot down.

  • Karen July 29, 2017 (11:17 pm)

    I saw it over Sammamish. Same thoughts…either a meteor or space junk. It was pretty cool. I was too stunned as I was out walking and didn’t get a picture before it burned out. 

  • Lisa July 29, 2017 (11:24 pm)

    Curious what the difference is, I found this about comets, meteors and asteroids. 

    https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.universetoday.com/100075/infographic-whats-the-difference-between-a-comet-asteroid-and-meteor/amp/

    • WSB July 29, 2017 (11:27 pm)

      Comets don’t streak across the sky rapidly as this is reported to have done, for one. We had a comet visible in the sky for quite some time years ago and it was almost stationary looking, which surprised me. I think I’m remembering Comet Hale-Bopp.

      • Lisa July 30, 2017 (6:08 am)

        Oh thanks for that article. Comet was the only one described as having a tail and last night’s sight definitely had a tail so I assumed… 😄

        • Evelyn Knight July 30, 2017 (2:10 pm)

          I was driving to the Portland Airport and saw a very low fireball with a tail. Way too slow for comet.

  • J July 29, 2017 (11:26 pm)

    We saw it in West Olympia.  Big, bright and beautiful!

  • Globetrekker July 29, 2017 (11:42 pm)

    We saw it up at Hood Canal – bright, fireball, low, purple – amazing. We all saw it because the ISS was traveling over Belfair at 9:42 p.m. so we were out just watching the night sky.

  • Matthew July 29, 2017 (11:42 pm)

    Saw it from the East Renton Highlands. Thought I heard something afterward too. Awesome!

  • Jennifer Decker July 29, 2017 (11:43 pm)

    I saw the meteor tonight. Sitting my backyard in Fall City, it streaked across the sky heading north. Super bright, slow, and low. It was stunning. Seemed to disappear just before it dropped below the horizon. 

  • Coby July 29, 2017 (11:56 pm)

    We are in Wenatchee. We had driven our UTV up in the mountains to enjoy the star filled sky and then this beautiful ball of fire, with what looked like three streams of blue/white fire trailing behind it. Most amazing thing I have ever seen. 

  • Andrew Steers July 29, 2017 (11:56 pm)

    Started due east and headed north over the water, seen from Woodard Bay in East Olympia.  What an amazing sight.

  • J July 29, 2017 (11:57 pm)

    We saw it in bothell too!

  • Eileen July 30, 2017 (12:11 am)

    We saw it at the Seattle Astronomical Society Star party at Paramount Park !  Wow! Looked green with an orange glow at the end and then break up.   Everyone was of course looking up already as we were at the star party

    We thought we heard a sonic boom minutes later.

    • WSB July 30, 2017 (12:20 am)

      Now THAT is a great place for a sight like this. Thanks for the report (and to everyone who’s commented). I’m not sure where Paramount Park is but one source of booms in the city tonight was the Seafair Pirates with a double cannon during the Torchlight Parade, running through downtown (and in some cases with the sound magnified by the buildings) for a few hours … it was still going when the meteor went by. – TR

  • Hanadia Hudspeth July 30, 2017 (12:21 am)

    Saw it here in Lacey. A brilliant flash of blue almost as if we were looking at a UFO it was so foreign and so large. It looked as if it were white hot on fire. It streaked silently across the sky so fast that had my friend and neighbor had not pointed it out during one of my midsummer rants then I would have missed it completely. It was as if it materialized all of a sudden in thin air in the midst of our skies. It was surprising because of how low the altitude was. We both kinda clutched on to my balcony railing waiting to hear any sign of impact or mass recognition of what we had just witnessed but the night carried on as if nothing had happened. What a sight to have seen and I hope I catch one or two more before bed!

    • Nancy July 30, 2017 (4:28 pm)

      That’s exactly what I saw in Yelm no sound super slow and very low. I had never seen anything like it before! Thought something had come down in the neighborhoods yard it was so low!!!

  • seaopgal July 30, 2017 (1:06 am)

    We were returning from a wedding in Portland, and saw it just north of Castle Rock. It seemed like our own personal meteor, so interesting to hear how many others saw it and where.

  • jr July 30, 2017 (2:40 am)

    We saw it from up on Tiger Mountain.  The tail was bright red and orange and the rest was blue.

  • sharon sikes July 30, 2017 (4:46 am)

    I saw it in Suquamish, Wa. last night, beautiful bright and huge. Seemed so close.

  • Mike Berry July 30, 2017 (5:57 am)

    I am out in Roy and I caught it while looking up at the sky, waiting for the dog to do it’s business. It came from the SW, seemed to be only a few hundred feet off the ground and was at the approximate height, flight path and downward trajectory as the jets that fly into McCord every hour. It was a very bright blue/green ball, with about two inches (measured from ground with fingers) of orange flame tailing behind it. I’d never seen a meteorite that close to earth before, so it initially startled me as I waited for impact, but I never saw or heard anything. I also wondered if it could be some kind of rocket, but the spherical shape sold me on meteor. It was definitely a pretty cool thing to witness!

    • Nancy July 30, 2017 (4:29 pm)

      That’s exactly what I saw in Yelm no sound super slow and very low. I had never seen anything like it before! Thought something had come down in the neighborhoods yard it was so low!!!

  • RJ July 30, 2017 (6:06 am)

    Saw it from Lake Chelan. Most spectacular sky visual I have seen. Any dash cam videos?

  • BluBuzzy July 30, 2017 (6:53 am)

    Admiring the stars in Preston when a big green meteor with a red and yellow tail went flying by overhead.  From horizon to horizon, absolutely gorgeous. 

  • Avis Peterson July 30, 2017 (6:58 am)

    I walked out onto the deck, looked up just in time to see this brilliant fireball bright greens to yellow orange finish. So large, I was just baffled as it raced across the night sky here at Winthrop, Washington. Avis

  • NormaY July 30, 2017 (7:00 am)

    We saw it from our boat out on Lake Roosevelt near Coulee Dam, Washington. Beautiful sight from our boat out night fishing. It was so close! Watched it track over the Dam and then appeared to burn out. 

  • Jeff Akers July 30, 2017 (7:39 am)

    About 400-500 of us saw it during an outside Paperboys concert in Leavenworth. It was a great way to end the evening. 

  • Sarah July 30, 2017 (7:49 am)

    I live in Bothell and I was in the backyard having a camp fire with some friends when we saw it. I heard someone say they saw a shooting star and I thought for sure it would be gone before I turned around. it was def more like a meteor it’s was slow enough that we were all able to see it and so low to earth and so big that I thought it must be a drone or something. It had lots of bright colors according my friends but I was only able to see a very bright teal and green. 

    S

  • Diane July 30, 2017 (8:03 am)

    We were hosting a small gathering in Bellevue and several of us saw it as it streaked past.  It appeared here as blue/green light with with a fiery tail and it was moving faster than anything I’d ever seen in the sky.  It seemed to come out nowhere and appeared to be low low, so low that someone suggested it was a firework, but we knew it wasn’t.  Spectacular.  

  • JetCityGirl July 30, 2017 (8:16 am)

    I was at Dick’s last night. Saw it.

    Beautiful! Low with bright tail. Lasted about 8 seconds. It was heading north. I thought it was a firework. Awesome!!!

  • Casandra Cook July 30, 2017 (8:20 am)

    We were at a bonfire last night in Suquamish and we all were amazed at how close it appeared. It was by far the coolest thing I have ever seen. Only wish I had been able to record it. 

  • Jeanne Fellin July 30, 2017 (8:21 am)

    We saw it here from Discovery Bay near Port Townsend. Beautiful sight.

  • Andy July 30, 2017 (8:22 am)

    Im in Eugene Oregon and I am sure I saw the same thing.  It was unlike anything I have ever seen.

  • Dee Gillespie July 30, 2017 (8:40 am)

    We live in Fall City at lake Alice West and saw it while we were out having a bonfire. Our son saw it enter the atmosphere looking Southwest and he yelled at us and we saw it zoom northwest over us. It was blue green with a white tail and lasted 5-7 seconds. I thought we were going to see it hit the earth, but it broke up in the sky on low horizon in front of us! It was amazing! 

  • Gayle July 30, 2017 (8:48 am)

    Up here on Green Mtn, Mountain Loop, Granite Falls and Saw it slowly sail over my place.  The fire tail was amazing yellows and blues. Very beautiful and amazing to see.  It seemed very low in the sky and I ran out to see if it was going to crash into the mountain behind me.  

  • Je July 30, 2017 (8:50 am)

    We saw it!  Kent, WA, in midst of stargazing, event organized by city parks at Boeing Employees’ Astronomical Society, at Gary Grant Park on Soos Creek Trail Star Party.


  • Danette July 30, 2017 (8:52 am)

    We saw it while singing songs around a campfire on Filucy Bay… Key Peninsula….Icing on the cake! 

  • Art W Typolt July 30, 2017 (9:37 am)

    Just before 10pm  sitting on the deck looking at stars in southern sky. It streaked from Snohomish over Lake Stevens. Thought  it was a flare at first but it was moving too fast. Went from red , green to white and sounded like a quiet rocket. 

  • Jonathan July 30, 2017 (9:39 am)

    I saw this from Redmond, so beautiful!

  • Tina July 30, 2017 (9:43 am)

    We were sitting outside having a bon fire celebrating my birthday – in Bonney Lake Washington. We also saw the awesome streak across the sky- the blue tail was such a brilliant color. It was so awesome and a great birthday treat. 

  • Shawn Seeger July 30, 2017 (9:49 am)

    Saw it last night, we are in Mineral Wa. It was beautiful! White, then greenish/blue then Red! Awesome

  • Victor wilson July 30, 2017 (10:17 am)

     I live on Union Hill Redmond and I seen it as well and it look like it was right over my house. It was very low right above the tree line from where I was  it looked very fast and I just saw a brilliant blue color I looked at my watch  to see what time this occurred said it was 946 PM 2 1/2 to 3 minutes later we heard a sonic boom this was not a pirate ship from Seafair that’s for sure that made that boom.  I lived in Simi Valley California next to Rocketdyne where they tested rocket engines and we would listen to sonic booms every day of the week Monday through Friday. That’s what the boom sounded like way far away. Most amazing thing I’ve ever seen. 

  • aurora July 30, 2017 (10:27 am)

    We observed it from our farm in Friday Harbor, San Juan Island, just before 10pm…the weirdest thing is that it’s trajectory was totally horizontal, from SE to NE; its lasted about 6 seconds, had a bright orange, then blue green tail, then had a type of explosion before complete burnout-poof; I say missile, or something of that nature-it was way too much in a very straight line……..

  • Mishala Weber July 30, 2017 (10:27 am)

    Absolutely amazing!! Was hoping someone caught video of it, since it lasted so long. Can’t find anything!

  • Doug in Wedgwood July 30, 2017 (10:30 am)

    I saw it burning bright green and teal through the trees from my backyard in the Wedgwood, Seattle area.  I’ve seen a few of these before, but this one seemed much brighter and lower to the ground.  Absolutely incredible!

    I too heard a “boom” just after the flyover, but I assumed it was another M80 left over from the Fourth.  I wonder if folks in other areas heard it too?

    • Kim July 30, 2017 (11:43 am)

      We heard the boom in Green Lake too. Not sure if it’s related.

  • Fabian July 30, 2017 (10:33 am)

    Saw it in shoreline last night. All of us were amazed.

    • WSB July 30, 2017 (10:42 am)

      Since someone will invariably bring it up, this was reported early today:
      http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/u-s-conducts-test-thaad-defense-system-ballistic-missile-n787851

      All that’s mentioned is Alaska and “over the Pacific,” so far. Alaska seems too far to explain the sighting here but …

      • Keith July 30, 2017 (11:17 am)

        Yeah I saw that NBC report this morning (after seeing the…. whatever-it-was last night) and thought maybe it was the explanation. Used to see weird things in the So. Cal sky when I lived down there and it frequently turned out to be some sort of missle test. But the starwatchers posting here seem to confirm that last night it was actually a meteor.

  • Kate Sokoloff July 30, 2017 (10:42 am)

    We saw it on Vashon-thought it was man-fired at first. So low, slow, colorful. Best night sky sight of my life!

  • Mark July 30, 2017 (10:44 am)

    Was looking for shooting stars last night and watched what looked like a comet streak across the sky with a long tail at what I would consider slow speed . I have been reading other reports seems as if this started near south Washington and traveled directly North to about Canada ??  Not sure if this path would be relitive to a comet or meteor as they don’t travel at altitude for that distance . Wish we had photo !!

  • Paul Clark July 30, 2017 (10:52 am)

    We were sat out on the patio of a Mexican restaurant after attending the UFO fest in Yelm when what looked like an actual UFO flew over us heading north towards the Air Force base. I saw a red/orange flash on its left side just before it disappeared. After reading comments from someone in BC who also saw it I realize now it wasn’t as low as I thought it was.

  • Anita July 30, 2017 (10:55 am)

    We seen it in West Richland, WA. It was awesome lasted 5-10 seconds across a clear sky. Bright white with yellow and red long tail.

  • Mark Whitehead July 30, 2017 (11:03 am)

    Saw it while sitting on my patio in Olalla at about 10pm.  Teal to light blue in color, going south to north. Had a very well-defined streak/tail behind it. 

  • Ashley Andrews July 30, 2017 (11:35 am)

    We live in West Seattle but we’re visiting friends in Lewiston, Idaho and saw it last night! 

  • MM July 30, 2017 (11:47 am)

    Well, what was it?  We saw it in Okanogan, WA.  It was huge.  It had a reddish-orange body and tail with a white glow surrounding the whole thing.  Then it turned into a blue body with no tail and disappeared.  It appeared to be going south to north.

  • CM July 30, 2017 (11:59 am)

    We saw it in Ballard and same as other reports it was low in the sky, bright tracking and visible for several seconds while it went across our sky. Super cool whatever it was…but seemed awfully low.

  • Liz July 30, 2017 (12:26 pm)

    It was AMAZING!!!  We are in Lake Chelan, WA.

  • Roger Doget July 30, 2017 (12:29 pm)

    Wow ! I just happened to be looking out the window and saw a huge

    orange, red and blue fireball streak across the sky just before 10 pm.

    Thought it might have been fireworks, but the sphere was gigantic.

    It lasted about 5 seconds here in Kent, Wa.

  • Brian July 30, 2017 (12:35 pm)

    Location: Burien, WA

    The three of us where able to catch this from when it entered the atmosphere to when it disapated into pieces. Our view was about 8-10 seconds and about half way through we said uh oh, that might be a bad one; we were then relieved and in shock after it had broken up. The tail was so vivid in orange blue and yellow and was very long. The nearby airliner drone from SeaTac gave it a surreal feeling watching this fly north over Seattle. All three of us have never seen something so cool. Definitely will never forget that. 

  • Ndr July 30, 2017 (1:35 pm)

    Camping at Dash Point when this came through. So low, so slow and so green! Have been watching the stars forever n never seen anything like this! Amazing!

  • Cheri July 30, 2017 (1:52 pm)

    Saw it from Snohomish last night while sitting in the hot tub star gazing. Amazing bluish green colored with a tail of sparks. It did seem quite low and bright. Will never forget it!

  • Rick July 30, 2017 (2:40 pm)

    Based on all the reports that they were getting, the American Meteor Society put this together:

    http://www.amsmeteors.org/2017/07/washington-fireball-july-29-2017/

  • zephyr July 30, 2017 (2:51 pm)

    While this night sky event was extraordinary and I must have just missed
    it since I looked out at the night sky just before and after.  :(  
    What I find really remarkable and exciting is how far and wide the West
    Seattlites are reporting in from both last night and today.  The
    peninsula is representing all over the place!  haha

  • Andy July 30, 2017 (2:52 pm)

    Seen from NW Renton (just down the hill from Skyway). Facing east at the time, it was definitely east of us, moving from slightly SE to NW. People report at looking “slow speed” but probably due to how far up in the atmosphere it was. Too far east to be the missile test if it was shot from Alaska and over the Pacific. Also  pretty sure they would not do a missile test over populated areas. Thus the “over the Pacific” part of the description. The largest meteor I’ve ever seen. Have seen similar but short lived ones from red-eye flights. 

  • FamousNobody July 30, 2017 (2:54 pm)

    Saw it near Castle Rock, WA about 9:45pm. Very green, and winked out before it went beyond the horizon. 

  • Bowphantom July 30, 2017 (5:53 pm)

    My uncle and I watched it in Winthrop. It hung so low for so long. We’ve never seen anything like it. It was absolutely amazing 

  • Kathy July 30, 2017 (6:33 pm)

    Saw it in  Plain, WA, near Lake Wenatchee

  • Payton July 30, 2017 (7:26 pm)

    Me and my boyfriend were on a beach at lake washington and then we see a flash of light on the ground we thought it was probably some people with a flashlight but we looked up at the sky and we see a blue green light  slowly go throught the sky and burn out into an orange light. Then not too quickly after we saw it burn out the waves on the lake started to freak out. It was absolutly beautiful and we were lucky to see it.

  • Kelly July 30, 2017 (7:51 pm)

    My family and I were on Mt. Rainer and saw it! It had a green and blue tail for all of a few seconds then went white hot! It seemed so close we thought for sure there would be a sonic boom! Absolutely looked like a comet to us! Being that close was amazing!

  • Angela July 30, 2017 (8:30 pm)

    Saw it in concrete, wa. To date, the most amazing sight I have ever seen!

  • Kendall July 30, 2017 (8:57 pm)

    Witnessed the fireball just before 10pm from 10 miles south of Portland in West Linn. 

    Awrsome sight to see. 

  • Sarah July 30, 2017 (9:01 pm)

    We were camping in Gothic Basin and then 2 min later heard a boom in the distance, which we assume was meteor related. 

  • Scott H July 30, 2017 (9:35 pm)

    I was about a mile North of Winthrop, WA and got a great view of it. Seemed about 4 fingers above the west horizon. Wonderful long-lasting sight and despite the local forest fire smoke, it appeared green during the middle of it’s pass from here. 

  • Crystal R. July 30, 2017 (9:36 pm)

    We saw it from our swimming pool here in Washougal, WA.  It was amazing! I have never seen anything like it!  Same as everyone else, low and bright burning.

  • Tyson July 30, 2017 (11:33 pm)

    Saw the comet last night over a bonfire outside of Carnation. Definitely 5-seconds I’ll never forget!

    Also found this clip of it online (apologies if already posted):

    https://www.newsflare.com/video/140601/weather-nature/washington-fireball-july-29-2017

  • FBL July 31, 2017 (9:23 am)

    Was out enjoying an evening cruise on Lake Oswego and my friend pointed out the biggest shooting star she had ever seen. When I looked it was clearly something different. We saw it as the perfect opportunity to just float the boat and sky watch over a perfect night. #livelaughtruth 

  • Emily July 31, 2017 (12:38 pm)

    We saw it from Fox Island! 

  • Rob August 1, 2017 (3:09 pm)

    Was directly looking up in the sky and saw the moment it entered just south of Olympia.  Tracked it for about 8 seconds heading North.  It was shooting off fragments and moving unusually slow compared to the rest of the Shooting stars.    Done a lot of star gazing and this was oabsolutely amazing!  

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