fireball, very bright meteor leaving a trail in the sky that can remain visible for several minutes; often a distinct sound, perhaps caused by very low frequency radio waves, is associated with it. A bolide bōˈlĪd is a fireball that explodes in the air because of thermal stresses created when it passes through the earth's atmosphere.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.