A bright light that lit up the pre-dawn sky Wednesday was a naturally occurring fireball - a large meteor that vaporized as it streaked through the Earth's atmosphere - and not a Scud missile, an expert said.

"There's still a little bit of war jitters around, and people assume it was a Scud missile or a flaming aircraft," said Walter Webb, an expert at the Museum of Science who collects data on such fireballs."It is no question that what most people saw was a bright fireball, a meteor that comes down very low in the atmosphere," he said.

Hundreds of people who saw the streak called state and local police to ask what it was they saw sometime around 3 a.m. Reports came from as far away as Philadelphia and as far north as New Hampshire.

Webb said the steady light that some people reported seeing "was probably Jupiter."