Something other than the sun lit up the northern Alberta sky Monday morning.

Residents as far south as Cochrane and as north as Falher in Peace Country reported a streak of light and bright flash in the north at 6:23 a.m.

According to officials, the streak was a fireball – or an especially bright meteor.

As her husband puts it, the meteor "scared the crap" out of Jennifer Porter, who had been walking across her driveway in Edmonton at the time.

The family's security camera caught not just the fireball, but also her gasp and freezing up at the sight of it.

"I see a flash, and I'm like, 'Am I awake? Did I see that? Because I had watched Men in Black with my son the night before and I hadn't had caffeine,'" she laughed.

When she went back inside to report what she saw, he commented, "OK… are you tired?"

'SOMETIMES SPACE GIVES TO US'

The footage confirmed Porter hadn't been sleepwalking -- nor had dozens of others who saw the streak of light in the morning sky.

According to a University of Alberta geologist and researcher, the size of the fireball suggests it was "quite significant in size -- bigger than a grain of sand, at least."

Patrick Hill said it's quite likely that the meteor is from the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. But it's also possible it was broken off of Mars or the moon.

Experts won't be able to say for sure until they've finished triangulating the data from the Desert Fireball Network's series of cameras across the province.

Within a couple of days, the teams should be able to pinpoint where the meteor entered free fall -- after the big flash -- and will begin to model how wind and weather conditions would have affected its fall to Earth.

"Something that big is definitely in the meteorite-producing category. It's not like one a meteor shower or something like that that's just the upper atmosphere," Hill explained. "We're quite optimistic and quite hopeful that something got to the Earth."

Even compared to Perseverance's arrival on Mars days ago, the interstellar event is no less an opportunity for scientists, Hill told CTV News Edmonton.

"Here at the university, we treat these events almost like analog sample return missions. So instead of spending billions of dollars or large sums of money on these important space missions, sometimes space gives to us."

He and others are asking anyone who witnessed or has footage of the meteor to report it to the American Meteor Society Report.

If you caught the #fireball (#meteor) at 6:23 am in #yeg area today, best place to report it is https://t.co/Ws5yHhUkeI. We're checking our cameras to see if we caught it - stay tuned!

— Chris Herd (@SpaceRockDoc) February 22, 2021

With files from CTV News Edmonton's Bill Fortier