Bright Fireball Over the Great Lakes Area

The net is hopping with reports of a brilliant fireball seen from Wisconsin to Missouri. All reports are consistent with a meteor that rivaled the Full Moon in brilliance. Reports of sonic booms also suggest  that shattered remains of the small asteroid (original size was probably no larger than a basketball, but that’s only a guess) may have survived to hit the ground as small meteorites (maybe fist sized, probably much smaller).

I’ll try to get more info and maybe even post a sighting/sonic boom map.

In the meantime, here are some comments posted to this blog.

From Jennifer in Spring Grove, IL:

I think I saw a meteor west of where I live in Spring Grove Il a bit after 10 pm today April 14th. It was very large and brite. It lit the whole sky as if a full moon just peeked out from a cloud. It looked very near to the ground before it fizzled out. So low I waited to hear an explosion.

From Amy near Wautoma, WS:

My husband and I were driving in Mt. Morris near Wautoma, Wisconsin. We were out away from the lights of the city and we both saw a large glowing green ball falling out of the sky! It was cool to my husband, but freaked me out. I was scared! I can never seen something like that before! There was no noise….it was just there, like a movie. I didn’t not see it all the way to the ground. It happened on Wednesday April 14, 2010 just before 10PM. Anyone else see this?

… and a few news stories (KCRG, KTVO, WBAY, WZZM, Discover Blog, WISN).

UPDATE: The Quad Cities IL/IA National Weather Service Office has a page devoted to the fireball. The site includes links to videos as well as a Doppler Radar image showing possible meteoric debris falling over Grant and Iowa counties.

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About Carl Hergenrother
I am a professional astronomer specializing in the study of comets, asteroids and meteors. This blog will focus on my professional and amateur work in this field

16 Responses to Bright Fireball Over the Great Lakes Area

  1. Mike says:

    I was driving in the northwest suburbs of the Twin Cities and saw a very bright, large green ball falling straight down on the eastern horizon. It was around 10pm. As it got closer the the horizon it seemed to burst into flames and changed to a fire orange color. Very interesting to watch! I can’t stop thinking about it. Nothing special about it I guess aye??

    • jake says:

      wow, one year has passed since the meteor of 2010 soared through the night sky lighting up anything around you green. it was an act of god. its my brothers birthday today and we were out having a fire a year ago. at the time i ventured off to taked a piss, it got real bright our and i said wow did the moon just apear and i turned around and saw the most amazing thing in my life. it was a big ball of green soaring through the greater sky. at that moment what was racing through my mind was is this the end as we know it, are we gonna die, and at that moment the light got verybright and started turning orange then red and then it was gone. it had burned up and its a birthday bonfire i’ll never forget

  2. Darius johnson says:

    I SAW THE WHOLE THING. I LIVE IN GALESBURG IL I WAS STANDING OUTSIDE ON THE PHONE ON APRIL 14TH AROUND 10:00PM-10:15PM OUT OF NOWHERE THIS BIG BRIGHT ORANGE STREAK RACED THROUGH THE SKY IT TURNED GREEN IN COLOR AND GOT REALLY BRIGHT IT WAS UNBELIEVABLE USUALLY I CATCH A GLIMPSE OF THESE THINGS I NEVER SAW ANYTHING LIKE IT. I WONDER IF IT HIT THE EARTH I WOULD LOVE MORE INFO IF U FIND OUT BECAUSE NO ONE WAS AROUND TO BELIEVE WHAT I SAW…LOL… PLEASE IF ANYONE HAS VIDEO OF THIS I WOULD LOVE TO VIEW IT AGAIN.

  3. Artsee says:

    When I saw it just west of downtown Minneapolis, it was a bright orange ball with a green tail moving very quickly from a 1pm position to a 10am position. I’ve seen meteor showers before, but this was the biggest and brightest and most colorful I’ve ever seen.

  4. darci says:

    I am in Osceola Wisconsin…..saw this huge green ball of light falling through the sky last night. I was watching tv when out my window it was….I thought I was seeing things or losing my mine. It was beautiful to see and I have never seen anything that bright in the sky before.

  5. Steph says:

    Didn’t see it – wish I did! Here is an animation of it from someone who did, though: http://www.studion51.com/Meteor_Sussex_WI.html

  6. Harry says:

    I have been searching the net to find anyone, or any site, that saw the sky “light up” in the early morning hours about a week, to two weeks ago, that appeared (at first) to be a streaming trail of light (meteor) followed by an explosion that “lit up” my living room (which has a 10′ picture window facing west) to the point that I thought I had just witnessed a “bomb” of some type go off! I have lived near Colfax, CA for near 25 years now, and I have NEVER heard or seen anything like this ever… nor anywhere for that matter! I have seem meteor showers, but never seen an explosion of this magnitude follow to where it lights up the INTERIOR of a room in a home!!! Sorry, but I can not by the “meteor” theory. If it was a “meteor”, then I can see where some think we can be hit on earth by a huge asteroid and blown into the “hereafter”, but I find it strange that no one is talking about it out in the Greater Sacramento area foothills, OR the media! Strange times we live in for sure.

  7. thecatsman says:

    I am now upset that I missed what sounds like an incredible event…..If anyone caught it on video that would be nice to see.

  8. RC says:

    Fireball visible in Detroit Lakes Minnesota for roughly 15 seconds. Even through light clouds. In east half of southern sky about 30 degrees above the horizon moving to the east. As large as or larger than full moon and about twice as bright. Changing between green and white in color (possible cloud effect).

  9. Emily Taylor says:

    I was just sitting outside talking to a friend (whose back was to it) when I saw what I thought was a shooting star. I said “Wow a shooting…holy cow, wait, what the__” It turned green and blue and got very big and bright then faded off toward the horizon (east). I listened for a boom type noise but heard nothing. Was completly strange. Glad to hear I’m not crazy.
    Ames, IA

  10. Shannon Johnson says:

    I am in Northwood ND we live out in the country and I was just getting home around 10pm I was looking to the East of my house when this huge green ball about the size of the moon was falling quickly from the sky and getting larger as it got closer it then burst in to a bunch of bright orange lights and faded away I had no idea what it was until I heard about it on the news amazing to see a once in a lifetime opportunity

  11. Sue Bachem says:

    I was sitting out on my front porch and thought I was seeing an airplane on fire about ready to crash…a huge oval shape of brilliant orange turned a peach color then as it descended it turned a green blue…it looked like it was curving into Lake Winnebago in Oshkosh, WI where I live….totally amazing…does anyone know where it really landed? It seemed so close to me.

  12. Jessica says:

    I know my post relates to NY, but I had to post it, I need answers…I saw a HUGE ORANGE FIREBALL fly across the sky in NY 8/15/10 9:40pm. Anyone notice the new and brighter North star thats been lurking in out sky? Well I’ve been watching it for the past month now, and have witnessed it disappear and reappear a few hours later in another spot in the sky. But last night I saw it change into a huge fireball/comet/UFO fly across the night sky in NY last night, while out walking my dog. It came seemingly close to earth and hovered for a bit, then flew from one side of the sky to the other, swooping down then back up when it reached the other side!!! Scared the crap out of me, I so seriously thought for a minute that it was heading to earth, and was going to crash, I was literally shaking at how close it came, and by the color of it, like it was iridescently shining. As it looped back up and towards the other end of the sky it got higher or appeared to get further away until it returned to that normal unusually bright star that I had been watching, and then poof it was gone!
    Anyone else see this? This was not a comet or it would have crashed, What I saw went down (came very close, so close it looked as if to hit nearby my house!!) and was huge the size of the sun, but not as bright as it, and deep orange the color of a pencil eraser…I want to know if anyone else saw this or if they have any idea what the hell that could have been?!?!?!?!?

  13. bre says:

    Great resource thank you. I used it in my classroom for part of a lesson plan and just wanted to thank you. I wanted to share the other resource I used as well.

    http://www.thefreeresource.com/the-great-lakes-facts-and-resources-about-lake-michigan-huron-erie-superior-and-ontario

    Bre
    8th Grade Teacher
    North Carolina

    • Carl Hergenrother says:

      Hi Bre,

      I’m glad you found the blog useful for your class. It’s always great to know that the blog has been used to support education. If you have anymore questions don’t hesitate to ask.

      Thanks for the link on the Great Lakes.

      – Carl

  14. William says:

    I thought that any readers would also like this information. While i researched as much as I can and am still researching this I have yet to come to a solid conclusion. Yes, everyday there are meteors striking the Earth and somewhere around the world a volcano is in some stage of eruption, but the magnitude and close proximity of these three events is stunning.

    April 08-April 14, 2010 Asteroid 2010(GA6) is at close approach with Earth. The asteroid was 1st observed on April 5th and last observed April 9, 2010.

    http://ssd.jpl.nasa.gov/sbdb.c…str=2010%20GA6;orb=1

    April 14, 2010 Volcano Eyjafjallajökull produced largest Eruption Since March sutting down European airports for 6 days.

    April 14-15, 2010 Meteor and possible ejecta of volcano Eyjafjallajökull seen over Midwest USA heading in the general direction of Iceland.

    OTHER NOTES: Dust storm on Mars February 2010, Fireball on Jupiter June 2010, Deep Source Volcanoes, iridium

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