A strange celestial sight alerted an Airdrie resident in the early morning hours on Sunday. 

The resident shared photos from their doorbell camera, explaining that at approximately 2:45 am., she heard what she described as 'a loud rumbling fire sound.'

"When I checked my doorbell camera, I had managed to capture this image of what appears a big ball of fire. I went outside to try to get a better picture, but it was going too fast. However, I could hear it and it looked aggressive. I wonder where it landed."

Other residents chimed in that they too heard the sound and saw it, igniting speculation of what exactly passed through the sky. Some guessed it may have been a plane, while others said that the object was moving too quickly and too loud for it to be a plane. 

DiscoverAirdrie hasn't been able to confirm what the sight was, and according to the American Meteor Society, which has a log of fireball reports, there were no reports of fireball sightings in Alberta on Sunday, January 14.

However, the Calgary Chapter of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada stated that they do have what is called a Global Meteor Network which has cameras, which can be cross-referenced to see if there was a bolide or meteor in the area during the time. Although mystery shrouds the Sunday morning sighting, David Brown, a local amateur astronomer, explained some of the differences between celestial objects in the sky.

"[A] meteorite is something that has hit the ground, [whereas] a meteor is just something that's still up there," he said. "And a shooting star is a piece of material, about the size of a grain of sand that's burnt up in the atmosphere."

Brown said that one of the celestial objects that garners the most excitement and attention from the public is fireballs. Fireballs are much larger objects, ranging from the size of a fist to an object that can cause damage.

"There was an event in Golden [British Columbia] where [it] went through the roof of a lady's house and landed next to her. That is extremely rare, but it was very useful," Brown said. "With the Global Meteor Network cameras, if the camera catches something, we can calculate the orbit of where that material came from. If it's bright enough, we can calculate where it lands and then send people to look for pieces."

Asked what sparked his passion for astronomy, Brown said that he is old enough to remember the moon landing, a monumental event in human history.

"20 years ago, you needed to be a professional astronomer to even get close to what we're doing today. Today, you can do everything from taking great images of the night sky; of nebulas and planetary events, to doing science. You can do variable stars and occultations; those are all within the reach of the regular amateur astronomer."

For the time being, what several residents saw and heard on early Sunday morning remains a mystery. 

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