Massive fireball reported across Midwestern sky

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cronxeh

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(CNN) -- Authorities in several Midwestern states were flooded Wednesday night with reports of a gigantic fireball lighting up the sky, the National Weather Service said.

The fireball was visible for about 15 minutes beginning about 10 p.m., said the National Weather Service in Sullivan, Wisconsin, just west of Milwaukee.

"The fireball was seen over the northern sky, moving from west to east," said the NWS in the Quad Cities area, which includes parts of Iowa and Illinois.

"Well before it reached the horizon, it broke up into smaller pieces and was lost from sight," the service said. "Several reports of a prolonged sonic boom were received from areas north of Highway 20, along with shaking of homes, trees and various other objects including wind chimes," it said.

It said the fireball was seen across parts of Missouri, Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin. CNN affiliate WISN-TV said that people in Ohio also saw it.

Video from WISN showed a massive ball of light exploding across the sky. The Doppler Radar from the Quad Cities weather service appeared to capture a portion of the smoke trail from the fireball at just after 10 p.m., the NWS said. It appears as a thin line extending across portions of Grant and Iowa Counties in Wisconsin.

There has been no official determination as to what caused the fireball, the NWS in Sullivan said.

However, it said there is a meteor shower called Gamma Virginids that occurs from April 4 to April 21, with peak activity expected on Wednesday and Thursday.

"A large meteorite could have caused the brilliant fireball that has been reported," the National Weather Service said.

The NWS in Quad Cities said that it was unknown if any part of a meteorite hit the ground.

According to NASA, a meteor appears when a meteoroid -- a particle, chunk of metal or stony matter -- enters the Earth's atmosphere from outer space.

"Air friction heats the meteoroid so that it glows and creates a shining trail of gases and melted meteoroid particles," it said. "People sometimes call the brightest meteors fireballs."
Video:
http://cnn.com/video/?/video/tech/2010/04/15/ia.wi.fireball.lights.up.skies.cnn

I tell ya, this reminds me of the movie Armageddon :uhh:
 

Borek

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Nice one. And a large one.

That reminded me I have seen quite large meteorite in early nineties over Poland, but it was much earlier in the day (IIRC around 7-8 p.m. in the summer, even before sunset) so not that spectacular.
 
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I saw a thing like this when I was 10 or 11 years old. It was traveling south to north over southern N.H. where I lived. I was out playing with a bunch of friends and they all saw it as well.

It was close enough to see the flames. It was burning like a massive blob of old tires, and the smoke trail was very black and dirty. I have no idea how big or far away it was, but it was visible for a fair amount of time. There was no sonic boom.

This midwestern one sounds quite a bit larger and faster than the one I saw.
 
I was in Tunguska this one time, and the next thing I knew... well... :rofl:

Actually, This is by far the most impressive I've seen, and the detonation when it broke makes me think "iron rich" so the plume must have been HUGE. Nothing like metal burning into a trail of plasma! :biggrin:

If it were Iron-Nickel it would also explain why it made it so far into the atmosphere, and proximity would make it more spectacular. Then agian, maybe it was just really BIG, and the shattering effect was it just starting to really get into the lower atmosphere.
 

Gokul43201

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There was an interview on NPR last evening with a "space rocks" expert from NASA who estimated that it was a meteoroid with a diameter of about a meter when it entered the atmosphere. She also mentioned that it would likely have showered some dust/debris over Wisconsin.
 

Evo

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That would have been so cool to see that. I might have seen a meteor fall, but it was odd. I was driving at night, and suddenly there was a bright red dot about the size of a #2 pencil lead high in the sky and it just fell straight down out of the sky, I lost sight of it when a hill in the distance blocked the view. Never seen anything like it.
 
That would have been so cool to see that. I might have seen a meteor fall, but it was odd. I was driving at night, and suddenly there was a bright red dot about the size of a #2 pencil lead high in the sky and it just fell straight down out of the sky, I lost sight of it when a hill in the distance blocked the view. Never seen anything like it.
Did it seem to be moving very slowly, then (appeared) to rapidly accelerate, and then went past the horizon/hill? That's the classic perception of a "shooting star" aka Meteor. If it had a constant and steady motion, it was probably something else.
 

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