Residents of Maryland, Virginia and North Carolina were startled Sunday night by what appears to have been a sizable meteor, complete with bright flashes and a sonic boom, at about 9:40 p.m.

That explanation is not official, but from the descriptions finding their way onto the Internet, that sounds like a likely explanation. Here is more on the fireball phenomenon. This log of sightings reported to the American Meteor Society will give you an idea of how common they are.

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The WeatherBlog would welcome any comments, photos or video from readers who witnessed last night's event. Be sure to tell us where you were, what direction you were looking, the time, and what you saw or heard. Here's a gallery of Leonid meteors from 2001

Here's a description of Sunday's event from Bryan Bonner, of Carroll County, passed along to me this morning:

"Saw a huge fireball at 940 pm sunday night in south souteast sky. It started at 45 degrees and descended straight down, tail covered entire path. Began white hot and went through the color spectrum before disappearing just above the horizon. It seems like it was too big to have burned up completely. I`ve lived in carroll all my life and have seen many a falling star as it were, but never anything like this."

And here is a FAQ page on the pheneomenon of meteoric fireballs.

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