Only days after Congress questioned NASA and other government agencies, including the White House, on its preparedness for future impacts from near-Earth objects like asteroids, meteors, and meteorites, an unexpected and currently undetermined astral visitor made a flashy entrance seen along the East Coast of the United States.

The Associated Press reports that Bill Cooke of NASA's Meteoroid Environmental Office said Friday night that the flash appears to be "a single meteor event." He said it "looks to be a fireball that moved roughly toward the southeast, going on visual reports."

He likened it to a boulder entering the Earth's atmosphere over the northeastern U.S.

He noted that the meteor was widely seen, with more than 350 reports on the website of the American Meteor Society alone.

Derrick Pitts, chief astronomer at Philadelphia's Franklin Institute, agreed that the sightings had all the hallmarks of a "fireball."

Pitts said this one caught more eyes because it happened on a Friday evening — and because Twitter has provided a way for people to share information on sightings.