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Fireball Seen Flying Across The Midwest Skies

Jul 10, 2018 07:51 PM EDT
A fireball lights up the sky on the evening of Sunday, June 8. More than 600 people flooded the American Meteor Society with reports of the sighting.
(Photo : D. Bush | AMS American Meteor Society | YouTube)

A vibrant fireball lit up the Midwest skies, to the shock and delight of residents of eight states last Sunday, July 8.

Don't worry, it's not aliens nor is it a space rock careening toward Earth to trigger a mass extinction. Instead, a fireball is simply a meteor that burned up as it collided with the planet's atmosphere.

Fireball Over The Midwest

According to Vincent Perlerin, community manager of the American Meteor Society, the fireball was primarily spotted in Iowa and Illinois, but it was also witnessed by people in Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Ohio, and Wisconsin.

Hundreds of reports from citizens poured in to the AMS, including a few videos of the event.

"The estimated 3D trajectory computed from the witness reports shows a shallow entry angle, one that could be associated with an Earth grazing fireball," Perlerin wrote in the AMS report. "But many witnesses reported a fragmentation — it could mean the meteoroid actually went through the Earth atmosphere."

Witnesses who shared their experience on AMS describe the fireball as a bright green — some say blue — light that moved across the sky. Many took to social media as well, sharing vivid descriptions and even photos of the space rock that blazed up the sky on Sunday evening.

Reaching The Surface?

While there are no signs yet that this particular fireball reached the surface of the Earth, it's not unheard of for one to make it to the ground.

Scientists have actually just discovered a fragment of a small asteroid that fell on Earth last June 2, according to Apparently, the asteroid exploded into pieces when it hit the atmosphere, creating a fireball effect that was spotted by witnesses.

After the event, researchers immediately began looking for any fragments that might have made it to the ground. A first one was recovered five days after and then another a few weeks later in the Botswana Game Reserve.

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