This Giant Fireball Over Michigan Was Visible From Six States and Canada

By Tom McKay on at

The National Weather Service has said that the most likely explanation for an object which sent out illumination and a sonic boom throughout southwest Michigan, five other states, and Canada on Tuesday night was the break up of a meteor, WXYZ reported. The American Meteor Society collected at least 200 reports of the incident, which for around a second was so bright it lit parts of the Detroit region like it was daytime.

Gizmodo reader Dan McGhee sent in the above footage of the meteor, saying a motion-triggered camera installed on his house in Ypsilanti, Michigan, some 30 miles (roughly 48 kilometres) west of Detroit, caught the object at about 8:08pm ET.

“I was actually on the phone at the time and saw the bright flash (it was very bright) out of my windows,” McGhee told Gizmodo, adding that he initially thought the noise could have been thundersnow, which isn’t uncommon in the region.

Per CBS, numerous other social media users captured shots of the moment the suspected meteor broke up in the skies over Michigan. Ingham County Emergency Management Update informed residents that they had not received any “indication that anything landed on the ground or caused damage.”

Cranbook Institute of Science astronomy chief Michael Narlock told CBS he suspected the object was a bolide meteor—a type of very bright fireball that sometimes ends with visible fragmentation of its components. Tens of thousands of meteors larger than 10 grams of material fall to Earth each year, though the vast majority fall over rural or oceanic regions well away from direct human observation. [WXYZ/CBS News]

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