Huge Fireball Seen Over 7 Midwest US States

Article Updated: 26 Apr , 2016
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Video

Lots of buzz this morning about a huge fireball seen late April 14, 2010 over at least seven midwestern US states including Wisconsin, Michigan, Iowa, Minnesota and Illinois (that’s where I am!) The video above was taken from the dashboard camera of a police vehicle in Howard County, Iowa, which is near the Minnesota border. Another video, from the University of Wisconsin-Madison caught the meteor. The flash even showed up on a National Weather Service Doppler radar image from the Quad Cities in Iowa. The image shows the fireball’s smoke trail caught at 24,000 feet (the small squiggle near Grant and Iowa counties.) Several reports (this one too!) of booms, shaking and flashes have been posted online. Did you capture any images or video? First, you might want to contact the International Meteor Organization, a nonprofit that watches over amateur meteor sightings. But we’d like to see them too! Post a link in the comments or send an email to me.

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12 Responses

  1. We saw this last night from our home in Crystal Lake Illinois. It appeared stationary in the sky for the most part. Gave the impression that it was headed right toward our area. Looked like aircraft landing lights at first. The clouds in the sky flashed brightly for a few seconds. No sound. At the end the color faded to a red and then it appeared to drop from the sky. I wonder is this landed?

  2. I wonder if the folks on the ISS ever recorded a meteor like that from space?

  3. captain_picard says:

    There are lots of meteors coming down recently. What does it mean? Perhaps something really big has perturbed the Oort cloud?

    I hope it’s not a “planet killer” on the way, as I don’t want to end up in a museum( in a few million years) like the dinosaurs 🙁

  4. Diesel77 says:

    If this was a meteor it seemed to be one of pretty significant size, my question is how come nobody was warned about this potential disaster, it seems that everyone is amazed at the footage but what about those who knew of it and said nothing…hmmmm.

  5. HayleyFence says:

    D’you know, there are types of Lighting that look like that. Maybe that’s just it? I remember my mom saw one coming right across her neighborhood before.

  6. DrFlimmer says:

    I think, it’s obvious why people were scared of such things in earlier times.

    What would you have thought living in the Middle Age seeing such a bright and short flare at the night sky?

  7. Bob In Maryland says:

    I was outside last night at a Howard Astronomical League Star Party (Not the same Howard County as in the video! We’re in Maryland), when another person yelled “Meteor!”. Now, normally by the time you look up, it’s already too late. But not last night. I watched an exceptionally bright orange, pulsating fireball streak toward the NNE and then fade out. I did not note the time, unfortunately, but I wonder if this could have been related in some way to the fireball seen in the video. Perhaps a large satellite was re-entering and breaking up in the atmosphere.

  8. JohnS says:

    Most of the video I’ve seen of the fireball also show a low cloud cover present. The fireball is above the cloud cover lighting up the clouds, which is why it look a large object. We are seeing through the clouds and not seeing the actual fireball. The clouds are enhancing the appearance.

    Doubt it was member of the Gamma Virginids; a minor meteor shower. Unless of course some one actually plotted it back to it’s radiant point.
    Nay, it’s easier to look at a meteor shower calendar and say “that must be it”.

    I’ll wait for some in depth analysis of the flight path.

  9. Aodhhan says:

    I woudln’t be shocked if we come to find out this was something man made, like a rocket body, old satellite or something similar. To me, it just didn’t seem like it was moving at a crushing speed that MOST meteors seem to have. Although, this certainly doesn’t mean it couldn’t have been, or the replay I saw just didn’t give a good representation of speed.

  10. Fluffmachine says:

    I live in homer glen illinois and too saw it. I was walking my dogs around 22:06 and I was looking at the sky then ¡Whoosh! A really bright green streak lit up the sky for about 4-6 long seconds. A first it looked like a firework that was a dud. I’m glad other people saw it. Wish I recorded it.

  11. karg says:

    I MOST CERTAINLY SAW THIS METEOR. first off i live in Massachusetts i was out fishing all night with some friends, when i saw the SKY LIGHT UP LIKE A MATCH i was looking northwest(im pretty sure) i couldn’t believe what i saw- lets say im really glad i saw it, my friends could see the smoke stream it lefts before disappearing below the clouds.

  12. Olaf says:

    @captain_picard
    Don’t worry. Nothing big is coming out of the Oort cloud, it takes 20 years to get here and should have had big effects on the outer planets though gravitational interaction the last 20 years.

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