A fireball that brightened the Tokyo sky early Thursday was likely to have been a small meteor, a space science expert said.
The meteor, believed to have been somewhat less than 1 meter in diameter, moved from southwest to northeast in the sky above the Japanese capital while emitting a blaze of light comparable to the shine of a full moon, and may have broken into pieces later, said Shinsuke Abe, an associate professor at Nihon University.
Some pebbles that were not burned up could have reached the ground, he added.
Social media came alive early Thursday morning with many people saying they heard a loud bang, with some mistakenly attributing the sound to upstairs neighbors.
先ほど、2020年7月2日、02:32、東京上空に非常に大きな火球（おそらく明るい流星）が西から東へ流れました。数分後に室内でも聞こえる轟音が聞こえましたが関係があるかもしれません。映像は実際のスピードで再生されます。ベランダからの撮影です。 pic.twitter.com/eCYqr8uUfV— KAGAYA (@KAGAYA_11949) July 1, 2020
Many people who were awake at the time also witnessed the sky suddenly lighting up.
Around 100 meteors with 1-meter diameters fall into the atmosphere every year, with relatively smaller ones like the fireball observed Thursday being an even more frequent occurrence.