Meteors over Wisconsin?

By Phil Plait | January 15, 2007 7:17 pm

[UPDATE: This blog post is from 2007, when a bright meteor lit up Wisconsin skies. Another bright fireball was seen on April 14, 2010 around 10:00 p.m. local time in the same area. I have a new post up about that, so if you saw it and want to comment, head over to that post. Thanks!]

I just got an email from a reader saying a friend of his saw what may have been a spectacular meteor breakup near Columbus, Wisconsin around 7:10 p.m. local time today (Monday, January 15, an hour ago as I write this). Did any BABloggees from that area see anything?

The friend reported seeing several "vertical trails" in the sky, so it sounds like it could have been a meteor exploding and creating several trails.

If you saw something, leave your location, what you saw, and the direction you saw it in the comments!

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Astronomy, Cool stuff, Science

Comments (86)

  1. Tensor

    Probably has nothing to do with the Wisconsin meteor, but as I was outside tonight looking at Orion, I saw three meteors flash by moving westward beneath Orion in the space of about 2 minutes. This was around 10 PM EST, which would be around 9 PM in Wisconsin. As I said, probably nothing to do with the earlier one, but three in two minutes at 10 PM is sorta unusual. Could it be that there was a small bit of debris that the earth just happen to move through?

  2. Tensor

    Duh, forgot my location. Sarasota, Florida.

  3. jeremy

    I did see something that i thought was a meteor, but am unsure of the direction I was driveing and saw it as i was turning a corner going thru the woods and didnt see it for long but it was bright and did apper to break up as i saw it in flashes

  4. Supernova

    I saw a bright exploding bolide meteor in Wisconsin once, but as that was 5+ years ago, it doesn’t help you much. :) Still, it was an awesome sight!

  5. I was 15 when I saw my first bolide, and damn near freaked out. It was surreal. I didn’t know what it was until I did some research. Until then it was a UFO.. lol.

    Hopefully there’s some greater insight from others on which direction the Wisconsin event took, and at what time of the night. It’s really not likely anything significant, but who knows, maybe something small landed somewhere.

  6. Kim

    My daughter and I were driving north on Honore Ave. in Sarasota, Fl shortly after 8:00 on Monday, Jan. 15. We both were blown away by the sight of a very big, bright, green and white meteor…I think I saw a few pieces blow off-they were red. My first thought was fireworks, then I realized it had appeared toward the east and streaked down westward. It went behind some clouds, but we could see if for a few seconds lighting up the clouds. Awesome!!!

  7. Dang, if I only knew it was coming, I live 15 miles from Columbus.

  8. Buzz Parsec

    I once saw a meteor (possibly a perseid, a few days after the peak) while driving west across the central valley of northern California. (Yosemite to San Francisco). It descended straight down in front of me and changed color from intense green to bright yellow as it went down. I later realized the green color was due to the tinted windshield!

  9. Erin

    Saw a huge meteorite last night near Madison, WI. Anyone else see it? Large white ball with green and red trails traveling from the center of the sky straight toward the horizon. Looks like it could have hit somewhere…?

  10. Cyndie

    On Sunday the 4th, at 7:50 p.m. as 3 of us (hockey teammates) were traveling west on 151, in the Beaver Dam area… we saw this flaming ball softly dropping straight down to our north. It must have been pretty big as we could make out the flames around it. It went from orange, to green, then fizzled into a smaller stream. It had to have been pretty huge for us to see it so clearly from the highway. It definitely did come down in the Beaver Dam area. It was an amazing sight… but landed in a farmland area and may be hard to trace?

  11. Robert

    Has anyone gone to look for it?

  12. Jim

    I live near Appleton, Wisconsin. A couple of our astro club members and friends spotted a bright meteor. The feedback was that it was bright green and eventually broke up so the sighting is quite real.

  13. Robert

    Do you know if it was sighted east or west of Appleton?
    Was it headed North?
    I assume that you are talking about the February 4, 2007 event?


  14. Robin

    I saw a huge meteorite last night near Oregon, WI about 8:55 looking west. It came from the south, appeared to arc lower than the brightest star in the west. It was about 4 times bigger that that bright star, had a LONG tail, and was “spitting” flames from the ball. I could see it for a long time, it didn’t look like your average little shooting star. I have never seen one before and it was amazing.

  15. Robert Blum

    Did anyone observe the bolide over West Central Wisconsin (Mondovi, Durand) area on 3 Oct at 1900 z?

  16. Mac Gallagher

    AT AROUND 10 PM.
    Im from milwuakee WI by the way.

  17. andres

    Yesterday…Saturday nov 22nd…Driving down around in Sarasota, Florida, I saw a meteor…or shooting star, or falling star, whatever you would like to call it. I have seen many before, but they are usually higher up…farther away, and disappear quicker…but This one was thicker…i could see a variety of colors in it…..and it appeared very close to the ground…i actually thought it was going to hit at one point. I believe i was looking north. Did anyone else see it? It was still daylight outside, so im guessing the time was a little after 4 pm. I was impressed at how much larger it was then normal and how close it was to the ground.

  18. Joe

    I saw a meteor over hwy 151 on wednesday in the direction of sun prairie, columbus area. it was a fast moving streak of green that lasted only a second or so….

  19. Chris

    Joe, I may have seen the same one. I was driving West on I90/94 and I saw a meteor explode and break up over the Dells area. It was difficult to pinpoint the exact location since it was the night sky and tough to get a good perspective.

  20. Jeff

    I just saw a green streak come down east of oregon wi – saw the same thing last night a bit north/east of Oregon but it happened so quick I did not think anything of it until tonight.

  21. John K

    Found a meteorite today near Madison WI in town of Sun Prairie. Might of been on my roof for a few months or just in a snow drift. Thought I heard something hit my roof a while back no trees so had to be something that fell. I thought ice but later I found the 3in ball like blackened meteorite. Sitting by my roof gutter on the grass.

  22. Carolina

    Honestly there was just a meteor shower so its not unusual.

  23. William

    I saw a meteor while driving South on USH 53 near STH 70 (Spooner area) at approximately 4:12 am the morning of August 8th, 2009. It was in the W-SW quadrant and travelling on a northerly path at approximately 15 degrees from horizon. I could see the bright tail and then a very bright flash which made a circle of light like a halo (assuming where it struck the atmosphere). This circle of bright light lasted a few seconds as the meteor kept traveling – much less visible of course until it went under the horizon. If I had to guess, I’d say it landed anywhere between Grantsburg to Hertel.
    The bright flash lit up almost the entire Western sky like a bolt of lightning. I’ve seen many shooting stars but this was the most amazing, by far, I’ve ever seen.

  24. Shadd

    Seen a massive meteor at about 110am 12/11/09. on the way home from work from Stratford, WI, it was a little behind us near The Edgar, WI area over hwy 153 shooting north, seen a bright light, and turned to see it. caught a fast glimpse of it before it went over a tree line, and seen the glowing trail it left behind for about 15 seconds til it faded. Never seen one that massive since living in california long ago. This one lit up the sky as if it were daytime out. Looked as if it were close enough to judge it by guessing the size,.. it looked to be about the size of a quarter if i held one up all the way out in my hand. Pretty big probably. Passenger with got a glimpse of it also. Wonder if anyone else seen it, or maybe got a photo shot of it, cell phone pictures suck, the trail it left is barely visable in it.

  25. I witnessed the 12/11/09 meteor, also. I was driving northbound around Conover, WI when it happened. The dark forest I was driving through lit up with a bright flash of green light. Looking around for the source, I saw a green trail in the sky to approx. the west northwest. My first thought, also, was fireworks. The green trail changed to a more reddish trail at a lower altitude, and faded from there. The general descending slant of the trail (from my perspective) was from south (top end) to north (bottom end). I was fairly sure that fireworks as far away as that trail appeared to be, couldn’t generate the amount of light I’d witnessed – so, therefore, meteor. The entire trail faded rather quickly, but it was really something special to see! Because the flash of light that lit everything up was so short-lived, I figured it was probably from a meteor exploding at high altitude; i.e., when the explosion completed, the light faded. I couldn’t help but wonder if the people directly under it had experienced some kind of sonic concussion…

  26. THAD M

    I am a truck diver from KY. I was traveling north on I90/94 at the 124 mile post. Looking slightly off to my right I saw the meteor. It looked really large and really close, within a kilometer of where I was. I didn’t hear anything; it just lit up the sky. It was almost coming straight down and had to be very large. If anyone is looking for it, maybe this will help.

  27. Mike D

    Wisconsin 12/11/09 1:15 am. I was on C 3 miles from Washburn when the sky lit up for about 1 second. The source direction appeared to be Ashland.

  28. jennyb

    Did anyone see a large flash of light in the sky at 8:00pm approx. on March 3rd, 2010 in pierce county wisconsin. After the large flash of light about 2 minutes later there was a sound of an explosion. someone 15 miles away heard it also, but didn’t see the light.

  29. Mary

    I saw a big meteor and flash of light approx 7:15 on March 3, 2010 in Monroe County, it was NW of us.

  30. karie

    I saw the light around 7:30 last night , it lit up the whole sky….I was driving near Knapp.. A friend of ours saw like a big fire ball and then there whole house shook

  31. Jeremy

    I only live about 10 minutes from Sun Prarie and Columbus. Is there anyone that has seen a trail or a point to focus on to go and look if this is true. I must admit there has been some recent activity as of late. We saw something falling from the sky while we were putting out an house fire on Hwy 73 North. Any info would be great.

  32. neil

    I just happened to see a large fireball meteor over Eau Claire, wi. It was traveling west north west towards Minneapolis. It had some spectacular colors in it, and appeared to break up slightly as it disappeared. Did anyone else happen to see it?

  33. Heath Rush

    It is 10:09 PM April 15th, 2010. I live in Sun Prairie and just saw one spectacular bright light that exploded in the sky somewhere above the Dane County Airport. Anyone else catch this one. It was pretty cool!

  34. Tammy

    We just saw a huge ball of light come streaming through the sky tonight (April 14, 2010). It lit up the sky. It freaked my kids out. We are sure it was some type of meteor. We live right near Lake Winnebago near the Fond du Lac area.

  35. Lauren

    I just saw a gorgeous shooting star today 4-14-10 at 10:10 from Watertown WI. It was in the SW horizon and it was moving in the SE direction. I was looking another direction and all of a sudden saw a bright light coming from the horizon. I looked and it appeared just like a firework. It created a streak in the sky and ended with yellow & red light pieces breaking off and then fading away… gorgeous. Did anyone else see this?

  36. clw

    Just saw a very bright white meteor west of madison traveling north to south in the western sky. About 10:05 pm.

  37. carrie

    Wow! The entire sky was getting light when I looked up and spotted what I’m guessing to be a huge meteor. Just minutes ago… Orange firey tail lasted several seconds. It was in the northern sky near Baraboo/Wisconsin Dells area. Amazing!!

  38. Wally

    On my way home from work tonight 10:10pm. I was heading west in Washington Co. I saw a bright streak come out from the north, fly across the road and break up to the south. It changed colors three times. White, yellow and green. It had about a 10 degree downward angle.

  39. courtney

    Just saw something extremely bright-lit up the entire sky–over fond du lac, wi. Whatever it was was heading south and looked like a large fireball breaking apart.

  40. Jenn

    I just saw a very intense flash in the sky while driving home from work at approx 1010Pm. I live in Wauwatosa (just west of Milwaukee) and a bright flash caught my eye to the west. I saw a white/orangish color of the flash and the tail then disappearing shortly after. I thought it was fireworks?? Anyone else see this? I swear I’m not crazy!

  41. Amy

    I was driving home around 9:30-9:45pm from Fond du Lac. When my fiance and I both saw a large white meteor that lit up the entire sky then disappeared. It was heading South-South East. Pretty spectacular!

  42. Debbie

    We saw at 10:06 tonight what appeared to be a very bright meteor that started off green and then turned red just before it broke into a few pieces. Did anyone else see this tonight.

    We live near Edgerton, Wisconsin.

  43. Scott

    I just saw a what I believe to be a meteor south of Sparta, WI at 2010 local, two large flashes of light, and then three fireballs shooting across the sky. Looks like it shot over the Viroqua or Westby, WI area.

  44. Walter

    Just saw a large meteor over Appleton, WI at about 10:00 PM. It was shedding a trail of debris and giving off green flashes. Coolest thing I’ve seen in my life.

  45. lisa

    In Menasha wisconsin just saw something falling from the sky right after 10 pm. I was green followed by a falme of orange and red….it was going southeast

  46. Joe Hinke

    I saw a large exploding meteor tonight about 10:05 cst. It was travelling west to east and about 2-3 minutes later a huge sonic boom rattled the house. We live in the country north of Richland Center, WI, half way between Madison and LaCrosse. It was awesome.

  47. Lms

    yup… one just landed near Platteville, Wisconsin tonight

  48. Megan

    I just saw a meteor- I’m in Richfield, Wisconsin! Did anyone else see it tonight- around 10:15 CST? I saw it out to the west.

  49. Brad K

    I saw it also…was driving in Dodge County. It appeared to keep to the west traveling almost north to south. It lit into a green ball of fire, then broke up into several chunks, and seemed to burn out as it passed to my south.

  50. David

    madison wisconsin, tuesday. huge meteor. cant figure out the direction. it was massive though. im talking MASSIVE!!!!! wonder if this is the Apocalypse. everybody is seeing them

  51. MasonHullermann

    I live in bloomington wi and I saw the flash and felt a shock wave when I went outside.

  52. Eric

    I am 14, roughly a half an hour ago i was sitting by my bedroom window. The window was open and the entire neighborhood lit up. I looked up in the sky to find a large bolide streaming across the sky at an unusual distance, a closer distance. It had an extremely long tail, it did not look like a typical meteor or meteorite.

  53. Joshua

    Saw a super bright light from my windows facing north, followed shortly after by a really large boom in Boscobel (Grant County), Wisconsin. Looked to be heading towards the Prairie Du Chien area or towards Minnesota. We have a chance of storms tonight so I thought it was thunder and lightning until I went out and saw we have clear skies and a ton of reports coming in about a possible meteor.

  54. i saw the meteor tonight around ten pm it was going north to south it wasw the biggest thing ive ever seen it was HUGE it broke apart and has it did it flashed really bright about two or three times it appeared to break up into three peices it was the most amazing thing i have ever seen!!!!

  55. Jean

    I saw the flash of light from my workplace in Oshkosh (about 2 hours north of Madison). I doubt it was lightening because there was no thunder, no rain, nothing. How neat is this!

  56. Erin

    I live In Iowa City, IA and I seen this same thing at roughly 10:20pm I was outside on my balcony, probably the coolest thing I ve EVER seen!

  57. Sam

    I live in Beaver Dam and I saw it, too!!! At first, I thought it was plane on fire, then the whole sky lit up into this awesome green color, then it kind of broke up, and turned a yellow/red color. Definetly headed south.. It was so huge, I expected to hear it crash into the earth, but there was no sound, not even my own breathing!! That was truely one of the most spectacular sights I have ever seen. So glad I wasn’t the only one who saw it!!!

  58. Milo

    I saw the object tonight also. I was at work in Anoka MN on my break sitting out side faceing south when I watched it burning through the sky. Glowing bright green with a white tail at about 10:06 pm. At first I thought it might be a firework, but after seeing it go behind a few patchy clouds I new it wasn’t. I watched it cross the entire sky then out of my veiw behind a building on the hirizon, not even a second after it went out of veiw the sky burst with an outward glow of green blue and yellow where the object went out of sight. I haven’t seen something like this in almost 12 years.

  59. simonM

    we got out off wrk at 10:05 in lacrosse could have swore it hit close by

  60. Tim

    I live in IL and work in Madison WI. I was on my way to work last night (3rd shifter) heading northbound on I-39/90 to Madison when I caught the whole thing around 10:05pm. It was passing us in a southernly direction and dropping fast. It started as a light blue-ish/white color. Since I was concentrating on the road I wrote it off as jetliner running lights or lights on a tower. Then it changed to a very bright green with a large yellow/orange tail with a blue glow. It appeared to be only 2mi away, west of the highway and maybe 2mi above the tree line at best. It was absolutely HUGE. An incredible sight to say the least. It immediatly turned into a yellow/orange fireball and broke apart before vanishing. The fireball went out somehere over Grant County WI.

  61. D

    everyone here in E Dubuque IL saw a huge flash of light which we all just figured was just lightning later we heard of a possible meteor, “the whole sky just lit up” that’s what we saw from the supper club that I work at (which is all windows) , but everyone in the place went … wow what was that? it was oddly bright but being from the mid west we just shrugged it off

  62. Jeremy

    I saw this as well last night very bright colors. I live in Marshall, Wi and to think that a piece or some of this landed somehere between Marshall, Sun Prarie or Cottage Grove. Lucky me to have the day off. My $2000.00 Metal detector and me will be hunting and looking today. What a sight will post any finds on this sight today if any are found.

  63. I thought it was going to hit our car! It was my golden birthday. Wow! Near Sauk City. Everyone else going home from my birthday party saw it, too.

  64. Ash

    I live in La Crosse and at the time was outside in the backyard. I was looking at the spot we were putting a new shed when i though someone turned the kitchen light on which shines above the spot. I looked up and saw a fire ball crouzing through the sky. It lit up the whole sky with a greenish light (almost like thunder/lightening when it lights up the sky at times)… and was actually pretty freaky!

  65. ralene

    My children and I saw it around 9:50 in Deforest. It was huge. I thought it was a plane on fire.
    The orange and yellow fire-glow off of it was amazing. The pictures on the internet do not do it justice as it looked like a large black object surrounded by a fire ring with “sparks” coming off of it with a long white tail. It was the most amazing thing I have ever seen

  66. Mike

    I saw light from my bedroof last night in Strawberry Point, Iowa. I thought is was lightning. Heard an explosion shortly after. I thought it was thunder.

  67. Christian Fredrickson

    I was in Stevens Point at the University with some friends heading back to a dorm. We heard screaming from other people on reserve st (it was 75 out so there were a lot of people walking around), and a friend pointed up to the object. It appeared to me to have multiple lights on it, and a green smoke coming from it. It looked on fire, and about 3 seconds after seeing it, it had an explosion that lit up the sky. I lost it soon after because it went behind a building. We didn’t think meteor when we saw it, we thought plane crashing.

  68. Barb

    My daughter and I were sitting on the couch around 10 pm last night when we saw the sky light up and then large booms. I thought a huge storm was coming. My husband had been out in the yard with a neighbor. He came in and said, “That was no falling star. That thing was huge!”

    We live in Spring Green, WI.

  69. James

    I saw this amazing green spectacle of light near Sheboygan, Wisconsin..I was on my way home from work and saw it in the western direction of the sky. It was around 10:15 CENT (GMT-6). It was pretty amazing, the green became more vivid and eventually you could see a trail and then it broke and dissapated.

    It was pretty amazing!

  70. Shannon

    Getting ready for bed last night 4-14-2010, saw very bright light… seconds later a powerful thunder-like sonic boom… checked weather reports, no clouds or rain…

    Just 10 miles north, the light was so bright, it filled the entire sky. The boom was so powerful, some residents felt their windows were going to break. At a local school board meeting, the flash and boom frightened the attendees and it shut down/restarted the school’s ventilation system.

    Just 20 miles north of me, near the WI River, there were about 9 different fires in treetops along a 1 mile stretch of road. They were on fire from pieces of the meteor. One tree was actually “run through” and cut in half from it.

    I am near Highland, WI (20 minutes west of Dodgeville)

  71. Tim

    April 14th around 10:07pm In Sun Prairie Wisconsin I witnessnessed a huge flare that resembled a firework gone awry. It was travelling North to South horizontally to the ground and appeared to be about 1/2 a mile off the ground. It had a brilliant ball almost white to light green that lit up the sky and surrounding back clouds . I was looking west on Main Street and observed it lasting about 2 -3 seconds. It had a trail of bronze to gold looking sparks and began to black out and then reappear for one last blast that broke it into several smaller pieces in various colors too quick to describe. I have never witnessed anything in the sky as spectacular as this ever. I wondered what it was and now today two more individuals in Sun Prairie confirmed they saw it too. The news reports indicate it was a meteor .

  72. Briana

    On Wed April 10th i was leaving my mothers house at around 10 pm. The sky was lit up by something falling. I looked up and seen a fireball or meteor with an orange tint with a trail of sparks then the whole sky turned blue. about 10 mins later the scanners in the town i live in were talking about a plane crash or ufo. I seen it and that was plane. this all happened in oelwein, iowa. It was falling west to east.

  73. Rande Fisher

    Im from Alden, New York and at around 10-11 pm yesterday i dont know if it was related but my house shook as did my girlfriends. pretty much my whole town lost power along with it.

  74. Briana

    oops.. i meant no plane

  75. michelle

    I live in central il and i saw a bright flash in the sky. it lite up the sky like a great big lightening bolt in the distance. it came from the north west. there was not a cloud in the sky…. i assume this “metor” is what caused it

  76. Lashana

    I saw a meteor here in Memphis,Tn. the other night. I thought it was so cool. It wasnt that big but big enough I could see it. When I told people what I had seen, nobody believed me until Winconsin saw the huge meteor in the sky.

  77. jeremy kruegel

    i was traveling south in olmstad co mn, and around 10 :12 pm i noticed that it was getting brighter outside . i looked out the drivers side window and saw a large glowing ball above the clouds it lasted for at least 10 to 12 seconds and then got dark again. kind of freaky

  78. Tim Hansen

    I saw it last night at work. A little after ten. I was setting in the parking lot at Ocean Spray Tomah, Wi. parked facing almost due west. It came from the north heading south, horizontal . I watched it for several seconds in amazement. It was the neatest meteorite I’ve ever seen. It started out white,then blue,then green, before it broke apart. The view that I had, kicked the crap out of all the videos kickin’ around the net. I’m a metal detectorist too, and I wouldn’t bother looking for this thing. It burnt up. Now if it had came in a downward angle it would have hit some where, it came in flat.

  79. Dan

    I saw it driving south on I35 through Chisago County in Minnesota at about 10:10 April 14. It came from west to east, from behind some clouds, crossing plain sight for a couple of seconds, then behind more clouds, then in plain sight again and over the horizon into Wisconsin. In plain sight it looked light a badminton shuttlecock, bright greenish-white, trailing red sparks. About the size of a nickle held at arms length. Very impressive.

  80. Rich Peet

    Regarding the 4/14/10 WI meteor.
    I record audio for documenting wildlife near Grantsburg WI.
    I checked my sound files today and noted the sonic boom from this event.
    At this distant location the sound did not rise above 18 cycles per second. I record down to about 1 cycle per second. Volume was loud but below human hearing in pitch. Intermittent booms are seen over a period of 6.5 mins. It is hard to tell from the recording if there was one boom and then echos or multiple booms. From reports I read here I suspect this recording was made at about 150 miles distant.

  81. Jeremy

    All the reports of this meteor from the UW Geology Departments say that all the pieces that are being found 6 total so far that have been turned in to the UW are found in western Wisconsin around the livingston area. Which is good news because this is where my family farms are located and we have not let anyone on the land to hunt these yet because I will be searching to see if anything can be located. Also the UW Geology Dpeartment will have these 6 pieces on display until Sunday then they will be returned to there owners. They are saying that this has come from the Jupitor or Mars region after there studies. Wow hope there are more pieces would be very cool to fing a piece of this.

  82. Alan

    Wow, light across wisconsin, meteor exploding, UFO, airplane, my dogs and farm animals went crazy that night, volcano exploding in Icelands, sonic booms across America, oil rig catches on fire off of Louisana, blue meteor accross the sky… reminds me of 1811 “Panther in the Sky”… New Madrid fault… intersting times that we live in. Governor of Arizona signs into law a stop and search law, reminds me of Schindlers list. 23/April/2010

  83. Alan

    Wow, I felt the effects from the meteor when my farm animals went crazy, what will it be like when the New Madrid fault lets go?

  84. R.U. Kidding

    People, for goodness sake, look at the video from the police car. That was no meteor. Ok, for the
    sake of argument, let’s call it a meteor. Now, go get a copy of the police video that was stepped on and published by AOL. Even stepped on, you can plainly, clearly, undeniably see a craft or ballistic
    object streak toward the “meteor” from the right lower quadrant, and explode out the left upper quadrant of the ‘meteor”. One second later there follows an explosion so immense it must have been above the Earth’s atmosphere, or the heat and shock wave would have created mass distruction. Don’t believe me; get the video and slow it down. Play it back and forth till your blue. The facts are there. Now, if that ballistic object did, as it appears, leave from the surface of the Earth, and intercept that “meteor” in 2.5 seconds, above the Earth’s atmosphere, it must have been moving far above 8,000 miles an hour.


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