Huge fireball over Wisconsin!

By Phil Plait | April 14, 2010 11:13 pm

Artist drawing of an asteroid entering Earth's atmosphereFor those of you in Wisconsin, apparently there was a heckuva meteor that lit up the skies there around 10:00 p.m. local time April 14, an hour ago as I write this. WKOW has reports and some great shots of it. It was terrifically bright, and there are reports of sonic booms being heard. Some reports are saying that was the sound of impact, but I doubt it; it’s far more likely to have been from the supersonic passage of the rock through the air.

If you have links, reports, or pictures, feel free to leave a comment. If you have good measurements of it (including where it was on the sky with some precision) then report it to the International Meteor Organization, which can help lead scientists to find meteorites if there are any. It also allows scientists to estimate the orbit of the object, which can help tie it to known objects like asteroids or comets.

I have to add this: I found out about it because an old post of mine about a fireball over Wisconsin in 2007 suddenly was getting a lot of traffic and new comments. Someone must have linked to it (currently I don’t have the stats so I’m not sure who did, but thanks whoever it was!) and people are leaving great reports about it.

Anyway, hopefully folks’ll find this post and leave comments here. Welcome!

Comments (106)

  1. av

    wow!!!!! i saw this while i was on the expressway driving towards ohare it was something you rarely see…

  2. Bobby Duncan

    We were stopped northbound at the intersection of Greenmount Road and Hwy 50, O’Fallon, IL 62269. I first thought the object was space debris falling from the sky. Initial sighting was approximately 330 deg azimuth/40 deg elevation. Object burned orange, yellow, and green. There was no trail observed. I tracked the object for approximately 5-7 seconds before losing sight behind obstructions. Lost sight at approximately 010 deg azimuth/20 deg elevation. I thought I saw a faint flash but I cannot be sure. At the time I believed the object was MUCH closer to our location (30-50 miles north). I called 911 to report the incident at 10:06pm CDT, one minute after the sighting (10:05pm CDT). I’m sure the dispatcher thought I was a loon. Amazing site for sure. I drove north of town to find any signs of its impact. I obviously know now that I’d probably have to drive to Indiana or Ohio to see it!

  3. John

    My friend saw this at around 10:00, he said it lit up his whole living room like a strobe light.

  4. UmbralRaptor

    Weird. I saw a bright greenish(!) looking meteor (rather long lasting, had a tail like a sterotypical one, and somewhat slow moving. It far in the north and going from west to east) at approximately that time. It seemed like it was in some clouds (odd, since it was mostly if not entirely clear here). This was in the Kansas City area. I didn’t note the exact time, but it was around 10 pm…

  5. Benny

    I am local, and my friends list on Twitter exploded about it a few min after. Of course as the only astronomy enthusiast amongst my friends, I totally missed it. I’m completely annoyed about it. I’m immune to loud noises around my apt though, because I live close to the airport AND a train track. Go figure.

  6. Oh, and by “exploded” I mean that my many of my local friends started tweeting what they saw.

  7. Gonzo

    Holy smokes, seen downstate too, Bloomington-Normal is about 120 miles southwestish of Chicago.

  8. AstroChick

    I saw it from just east of Madison. Definitely a fireball or bolide as it was very bright and broke up into pieces before vanishing.

  9. Mike

    I saw it falling slowly to the eastern horizon. A very bright green ball, I kept waiting for it to be a firework or something. When it got close the horizon, it seemed to explode into a fire orange color. I wish I had it on tape! I was driving east on I94 heading towards Minneapolis.

  10. Tommy

    I’m a police officer in Medora, IL (about 50 north of St. Louis, MO). I was out on a traffic stop with another officer and we saw it from here. It was bright green in color and near the northern horizon, traveling from west to east. It lasted about 4-6 seconds. It didn’t look like the normal “falling star”, this was BIG with a long green tail, like what a comet would look like. It appeared to break up at the end and had a flash of white light with the green color.

  11. Travis Brunette

    I saw the meteor while at a bonfire and heard the sonic boom…it was incredibly bright and broke up as it went. probabaly the most amazing thing i have seen in a long time.

  12. Ann

    I saw it from Kalona, Iowa – 25 miles south of Iowa City. It went from the NW to NE. It appeared so low that I thought it landed in the field I was driving by. It went behind a house right at the end so, at that point, I only saw the light of what I thought was an explosion. LONG trail. White, green then white. Didn’t hear anything – radio on. I was totally in awe! How odd for so many to think it was so close and we’re all so far apart when we saw it. Could that mean it was a really big one? I thought it was around 10:05 PM Central time when I saw it. Yea, finally I didn’t miss something neat in the sky!

  13. Jony

    Reminds me of that Utah fireball last year (or was it earlier this year?) which made NBC nightly news thx to the security cam footage around that region. I bet we’ll see lots of that tomorrow!

  14. AstroChick

    I saw it from just east of Madison. Definitely a fireball or bolide as it was very bright and broke up into pieces before vanishing.

  15. R2 D2

    I saw it and it is something you’ll never forget. I stay in Appleton and it seemed to be falling south west toward Madison.

  16. Hi I’m contacting you on behalf of that meteor you guys are talking about, well I saw it tonight. It happened tonight at roughly 10:10 pm central time. I seen it looking east from interstate I-90, Austin,MN. I was on my way home from work and it was lightning. After a quick flash of lightning I glanced up into the sky and saw in between some clouds the biggest meteor I have seen in my life. A big flaming orange ball headed down to earth, kinda freaked me out,lol. It happened for about 4 seconds or so.

  17. Marza Mzo

    Saw it at 10:05 from Green Bay, WI and called 911. Very bright green and appearing about 1/4 the size of a moon, with a slight, short tail. It was moving from southwest to south, about two outstretched fists above the horizon. It traveled for about 5 seconds without seeming to lose much altitude, then the lower half lit up bright orange and a second later it disappeared. I didn’t see any white light or lit sky (or hear anything–I was driving). Dispatch called me 8 minutes later to say they had received many calls and that “the control tower” had confirmed that it was a meteor.

  18. MMinDBQ

    I saw it in Eastern Iowa around 10:10 pm Wednesday night. It sounded like thunder and the fireball/meteor was moving West to East. I could not beleive how close it appeared. It looked like a bright fireball with a small tail/train. After 10-20 seconds it exploded and dissipated. At first glance, it appeared to be a plane on fire. It was an amazing sight to see. Nothing like I have ever seen before. Surreal…

    Here is a link to an image that looks a bit like what I saw– see first image: http://tinyurl.com/meteor-dbq2010
    The meteor pictured is much smaller than the one I saw tonight, but is the best I could find that looks similar. I can not wait to see actual photos posted.

  19. SCALEMAN75

    http://www.crh.noaa.gov/news/display_cmsstory.php?wfo=dvn&storyid=50881&source=0

    SOME GREAT VIDEOS FROM THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE.

    I SAW IT IN ILLINOIS, IT LOOKED LIKE LIGHTNING AND THEN A FIREBALL.

  20. JillianCreates

    I saw it over Westby, WI. It travelled from northwest to southeast and appeared very low in the sky. Here is a youtube video I found of the actual meteor.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KCP5hwOXtMk

  21. Awesome

    i saw it while driving home from walmart, i live in janesville, wi by the way

  22. Jason A

    I saw this thing too. Was fishing in down town Des Moines, Iowa. It was going north to south at about a 30-35 degree angle. I saw it for at least 5 seconds. It changed colors 3 or 4 times. It freaked me out at first, right before it looked like it was going to hit the ground it exploded like a firework. It was the coolest firework I will ever see!!!

  23. Jeffersonian

    Since it’s 2010, we have the knowledge to immediately ascertain what this was when we heard it and looked up. Aren’t you glad? Because centuries ago, people would just automatically say “God did it!!”. And, of course, nobody would say such a thing today.

  24. Bmac

    Walked out my front door and bang!!! Bright green meteor streaking east north east across the sky. And I thought Ames, Iowa was boring!!!

  25. katie

    yes yes i too saw the metor as i pulled into my drive way tuesday evening. i live in sun prairie and it looked to be north east of my house. falling in a easterly direction. i didnt notice any strobing light but i could have possibly been too far away… still what a beautiful sight.

  26. Ara Pacis

    Hey Phil, long time no see. But I did see the meteor tonight. I missed the explosion, but someone else saw it reflecting off of objects and clouds outside and thought it was lightning. However, from my perspective (in Oregon, IL) it seemed to be heading more northerly, as I only saw it briefly after it had already exploded and saw the remnants come into view, framed by my north-facing window. I looked NW and saw the gold-colored remnants move left to right across my field of view for about a second or two until they faded to darkness. I reported it to the American Meteor Society.

  27. Bandon Decker

    I think I saw the same thing as #4 UmbralRaptor, but from Kirksville, MO (about 250km ENE from KC)! I was driving north and saw a bright green fireball, which looked like it was starting to break up, but I lost it behind some buildings before it went out. It illuminated the sky around the buildings for a short time after I lost it. It was around nine thirty or ten, I think.

  28. Der A-mann

    Looking at this animation http://www.aos.wisc.edu/fireball/2010_04_14_fireball_loop_1024x768_long.gif
    I see two objects. There´s a larger point of light right before the fireball and then theres a smaller object travelling downward. I can´t get a grip on wich one is the meteorite. Is the smaller object a plane or similar?

  29. jasonB

    Saw an awesome meteor last night around 9PM in New Jersey. Very long tail and duration. From South to North

  30. Kathy

    A most incredible site! I saw it in Crawford Co, Wisconsin, where the sky was perfectly clear. It was a huge streak that went across the sky as I drove approximately west. It lit up the entire landscape. It did appear to burn out in the sky. A few moments later I got home and was walking to my front door when Ka-Boom!!! A huge thunder-clap, there was no lightning, so we figured it must have been some sort of sonic boom, or could it have been a sound from an impact??? It sounded like a sonic boom. I’ll never forget it, I feel so fortunate to have been able to see something like that.

  31. Tina

    Woke up to a dj on WGN in Chicago talking about this…The weird thing is, on Tuesday night before, around the same time, I was on the talking on the phone outside and told my friend that I had just seen a huge “shooting star” travel across the eastern sky–I live in Central Illinois, and was facing the east—wondering if what I saw was a precursor to last night’s light show, or totally unrelated…I’m a little freaked out and kind of bummed; I was awake last night as well, but didn’t notice anything, not even the lit up sky. :(

  32. People who want to be more involved with this sort of thing can build their own cameras to monitor the sky. You’ll be able to help when an event like this takes place, and your video might even make it on the news. No allsky cameras exist in that area, yet:

    http://allsky.ca/NAdatabase.html

  33. nevermindnathan

    Here’s a video of it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KCP5hwOXtMk

    I live in Southern Wisconsin, near Madison. I was inside the house but saw the sky light up. I knew the skies to be clear and knew I’d missed something special. Hooray for dash cams!

  34. I’m from Bloomington-Normal and saw it from our astro club’s site about 10 miles south of there, 89.7W, 40.21N. Estimated track about 300-340AZ, 10deg-down to about 3 deg Altitude. Bright, lime-green with what I could only describe as orange sparks trailing behind. Couple of bright flashes towards the end, no persisting train.

    Made a report to the IMO right after.

  35. Joss

    In case you hadn’t seen it, Simon Singh libel case dropped by BCA:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/8621880.stm

  36. Grand Lunar

    Why doesn’t this cool stuff ever happen in South Florida?

  37. I saw the meteor in Madison Wisconsin around 10:15 pm. I was walking my dogs and the whole sky lit up behind me. I actually thought it was a huge SUV behind me and quickly got the dogs off the road. When I turned around it was the meteor in the NW Sky. It looked like a huge fire ball shooting though the sky with yellow and orange flames and then broke up into 5 or so small red flaming balls of fire and died. I did not hear the sonic boom, and positive I saw it burn out in the sky. It didn’t hit anywhere. It literally looked like the sun had come out for a few seconds. Most amazing thing I have ever seen!

  38. jenny

    My sister and I were driving about 10:02 and seen the big ball of fire than boom it exploded it looked like it was closer to the ground than a two story house we saw the flames shooting to the ground it only lasted about four seconds it was awesome we were on Greenfield ave in brookfield wi we saw it in the field right next to Elm Brooke church.

  39. MadScientist

    [OT]: Congratulations to Simon Singh: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8621880.stm

    Of course I hope folks across the pond will still push for libel reform. Hell, I might have to make sure I avoid the place whenever I visit Europe unless the laws change. I just don’t shut up when the quacks are around.

  40. Patti smith

    My husband and I were driving into our subdivision when we saw a HUGE ball of fire in the NW sky. It was greenish with a long tail. It was amazing!!

  41. Joshua

    Shoot. I used to live in madison for like 4 years as recently as a year ago. Why couldn’t this have happen then?

  42. Jeff

    I also saw a similar meteor with sonic boom in Madison when I was a student there, ouch, ouch, 40 yrs. ago about! By the way , where they took that webcam, the meteorology building at UW-Madison, is world renowned, if you want to study meteorology , you won’t find a better place.

    I do kind of think they might be wrong about the connection between this bolide and the meteor shower. Meteor showers are not usually associated with big meteorites like this.

    Any opinion, Phil, are they correct about the link?

  43. Mike

    I live in La Crosse, Wisconsin, and I heard a loud booming noise a little after 10 p.m. It shook our house a little. I wish I would have been outside to see it!

  44. Paul

    Here’s a video from YouTube that was in local news websites:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S-TYo1LgHr4

  45. DebM

    I was driving northbound toward Westby on Hwy 14/61, when I saw a bright light out of the corner of my eye. At first I thought it was lightning, but knew that was wrong because it lasted too long. Looked out of my window and I saw the meteor, unbelieveable! It was incredibly bright, it lit up the clouds that were up there. Falling toward the East, breaking up then disappearing over the hill/horizon. I called my friend who also saw it. We went driving around because it seemed SO close and SO small. Apparently it was exactly the opposite. She said that she heard the boom around three minutes after it was gone. WOW! We will be anxious to hear and see more details about this extraordinary event.

  46. Bob

    We heard it right after 10:00 PM, thought it was a thunderstorm moving in. One large boom and a couple of rumbles after that. Near Lone Rock WI.

  47. rosebud

    Lots of reported sightings here in Minnesota too, so if it’s just one it seems to have been travelling from the SE to the NW.

  48. Jim

    I witnessed this ENORMOUS meteor at 22:06 local time. As in once in a lifetime enormous. Sized like a 757 at 2000′ up from a mile away enormous, and very slow moving for a meteor.

    Driving West on buckeye road coming into Madison, just over the interstate. It ran North to South for about 8-10 seconds.

    Started out as a fast green tinted white missle at a more rapid velocity, then slowed as it flared wayyyy up to multiples of full moonlight – easily as bright as the largest firework. Color was a light mint green-white. Stayed brightly flared for about 3 seconds, then broke into 3 smaller red ember-colored pieces which dissipated in a few seconds. Very slight tail – more of a streak behind. About 10* impingement angle.

    Didn’t seem to have an arc that would have intercepted the earth, but it sure was low and slow.

  49. Dustin

    Looked out my window about that time, I knew storms were around..Saw a flash of light, thought it was heat lightning. Didn’t hear anything after that, so decided to go for a walk to see the “storm” roll in..Found out this morning it was a fireball..Don’t you absolutely hate when that happens..Also saw it in La Crosse

  50. Chris

    Dang I missed it!

  51. dat one person

    i mizzed dat it wud have been cul

  52. mike bukhart

    I have seen fireballs some times they do make noise .This could have fragmented so there may be several pices of it on the ground.

  53. John

    It lit up the Memorial Union Terrace like daylight for a second, but I didn’t hear a boom. Some guys started chanting “UFO”, sigh. They were probably kidding.

  54. Jack Black

    I saw the object last night at 10:07 pm. I am sure the object was moving from the north to the south west. The other reports have it moving from south to north, and some saying from east to west. Something’s wrong here, there must have been more than one with with all these different directions being reported.

  55. Chet Twarog

    The two meteorologists on today’s Weather Channel showed the bolide/fireball vids but were describing it as part of a meteor shower!!!!

  56. KAE

    I live in Wisconsin and was listening to the local police scanner on the internet when one officer reported seeing what he described as an airplane on fire. Other officers reported seeing the same thing. I ran to the window but saw nothing. Several minutes later the dispatcher said there had been reports of a “falling star” or “shooting star” and one of the officers said that would be consistent with what he saw.
    It was fascinating to listen to, but I wish I could have seen it myself.

  57. My two sons and I were playing basketball in rural Cedarburg, Wisconsin. The fireball appeared behind some trees and appeared west/southwest of us. It lit up the basketball court to the point that my older son, Lee, thought it was a full moon. The meteor was extremely bright, burning bright orange (with a long tail of fire) moving from north/northwest to south/southeast. We next thought it was a jetliner on fire. It lasted about seven to ten seconds and then burned out brightly. There was no sound. It was about the size of your thumbnail with your arm extended to the sky and was moving slowly through the sky at about the same speed as a nearby jet would travel, not a streak through the sky like shooting stars normally do.

  58. @20: Which just goes to show that meteorologists don’t necessarily know squat about meteors.

  59. john

    I saw it. I am in Northeast Iowa It was spectacular! Long lasting and fairly slow moving. It streaked all the way across the sky from west to east.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lyrids ?

    Long time reader first time commenter.

  60. Greg

    Me, my wife, and my sister saw this in a parking lot in Racine, WI. We were looking directly west and saw it burn in a greenish hue before turning orange and breaking up into 4 or 5 distinct pieces before disappearing. So, it seems like it broke up in the sky west of Racine…how far to the west I can’t make a good guess…

  61. rosebud

    Okay, my previous comment is backward.

  62. KSP

    Saw it while out running the dog. It was the longest lasting entry that I have ever seen. The flash of light could be felt on my face. Center was bright white with a blue-green outer ring. The short tail of red embers made me think that it was a Satellite or something man made, entering the atmosphere. Some clips show it lit up all the way to the ground. I just the entry glow turn to a large flash and then back to black.
    Looked like it would have come down in southeast Minnesota

  63. JLR

    I live just north of Wisconsin Dells, WI and at around 10:10 p.m. central time I saw the entire sky light up and then I seen a huge fire ball arch through the sky, with a tail similar to fireworks, it was amazing! I am glad that I got to see it :)

  64. GABE

    I was in Stevens Point WI. The thought crossed my mind that we were getting nuked by iran. I honestly have never seen anything like that. It went across almost the entire sky, tail and all, and flashed green, red, and white colors and lasted for 5-10 seconds. Afterwords it got noticeably more windy and we heard a sound coming from the direction of where we saw the debris. The sound was similar to what a busy highway would sound like off far in the distance. It lasted for a few minutes and then returned back to the original weather that we were enjoying our nice cold beer to. That thing couldn’t have come at a better time for me and my friends enjoying the night.

  65. BH

    I was driving out of Muscoda (in Southwest WI) when this went right over our car. There have been reports of it causing fires around there. I would agree that it was the sonic boom that people heard, due to the time delay that we noticed. We saw it and didn’t hear anything for almost a full minute. It was a beautiful sight though!

  66. cmc

    I saw it too. I first thought it was lightning, but no thunder. What I saw was closer to the ground. (I live in a valley and could not see the sky from my vantage point.) My first thought was that lightning had hit the silo and sent a fire ball to the ground. It was a bright white sphere sparking like a firecracker or sparkler as it made it’s way toward the ground. I was concerned about a fire starting since it’s been such a dry spring so I looked out the window a couple of times toward the silo area just in case. This was on the east side of the silo falling slightly to the east.
    Today I’m hearing about the meteor sightings so, when I get home this evening, I’m going out to see if there’s any trace of it. This sighting was in SE MN.

  67. Covertghost

    I was laying in my bed in Madison with the drapes closed.

    There was a blinding flash of light (partially lit up the room, even with the drapes closed), which confused me because it didn’t seem like there was any storms around (I thought it was lightning).

    By the time I got up and to the window, the light was gone.

  68. Paul

    This reminds me of the large bolide that exploded over Chicago a few years ago. Fragments from that reached the ground and were collected as meteorites.

  69. LC

    Why is it that no one had any idea that there was a meteor coming? Didn’t we just hear the other day from the international space station that they haven’t even seen the 1st sign of any space trash up there? And why haven’t we heard anything else about this yet except from a couple of media networks?

  70. You are mistaken. Please allow us to clear up this issue for you. It was a weather balloon.

    This is no longer a story. A simple mistaken identification of a weather balloon.

    There is no need to report further on this.

    Please move along. There’s nothing to see here. Thank you for your compliance.

  71. Dan

    The bolide was seen here in Midland Michigan. A witness reported a blueish light streak across the western sky. I was out observing and went in not 10 minutes before, and missed it!

  72. jcm

    See? Earth is in the crosshairs, which I think gives a kick in the provervial pants to the argument that some deity created it for us humans.

  73. Larry

    Seen from the Lafayette, Indiana area. I was heading home from dining and rehydrating at the local brewpub after a very warm 5+ mile run (and had to stay legal to drive because I live 15 miles from there).

    Driving SE from Lafayette on state road 38, I was almost to the area where the road curves to go due east. Three bright meteors flew over together; slow for meteors but obviously meteors. All disappeared well before reaching the horizon, close in time but not simultaneously. They were heading ESE and the disappearance was perceived as over Dayton, Indiana or a bit on my side of it, of course it could have much further east, that was just how it looked. No trail, just the glowing dots. Because it was clear, perhaps I saw the end of the line.

    If anyone wanted to argue strongly that there were only two chunks at that point, I wouldn’t have much counter argument as it was more of an impression than actually having time to count.

  74. Old Muley

    OK help me out here. My sister-in-law is INSISTING that this bolide caused 10 small fires in her home town (Blue River, Wisconsin). So I have two questions; first, is there any telemetry data available yet to show the meteors likely path of travel and angle of entry? Secondly, and more importantly, is it even conceivable that a bolide such as this could cause a fire on the ground? I suppose something big enough to cause another “tunguska event” might do it, but then we’d have more issues than a grass fire in some small Wisconsin town.

  75. R. Ballard

    I have read all the “sighting” reports of it in the sky, but what about the actual impact? There has got to be an actual impact sight in the vicinity of Iowa County, Wisconsin. Why is there NO NEWS of the impact sight? I know that even if the meteor was only the size of a fist, as it was believed to be, it would make on hell of a impact into whatever it came in contact with. So there should be a small crater, or a burn sight of a demolished structure somewhere.

  76. Dana

    I was watching tv and saw a green fireball outside my window. I sat up and watched it turn to yellow and orange then disapper behind the building across the street. It looked like it was going to land. I didn’t think anything of it until I told my son and he told my husband and he said they were talking about it all day on the radio. I didn’t think it was that big and I didn’t hear anything, but it was really bright!

  77. mike bukhart

    I just heard some people thought this was a UFO funny I just got a three dvd pack that has all the versions of Close Encounters of the Third Kind One more thing I mentioned meteors fragmenting. This Is the explantion for some thing has been reported over the years that many rush to think is something supernatureal:stones raining from a clear blue sky,the stones are simplely pices of meteors that broke apart on there trip thro the atmospher also meteors are hard to see in the day time so there are no reports of anything strange before the stone shower, Stephen King used this in his novel Carie saying it was Caries powers that caused stones to rain down on her house during a fight with her Mother.

  78. Rob Matson

    The first meteorite from this fall was recovered today (Thursday, April 15th) less
    than 24 hours after the fall:

    http://www.rocksfromspace.org/April_14_2010_meteorite_fall.html

    The find is small and appears to be an ordinary chondrite. I’m sure there are many more on the ground waiting to be found. The story doesn’t say where the find was made, but my educated guess (based on Doppler radar imagery) is that it was recovered somewhere in the vicinity of Livingston and Mifflin, Wisconsin.

  79. I met a few Sigma Alpha Epsilon folks tonight(mostly, business majors), and they, at least here, think that it portents 2012.

    Surely, there are some science majors in that frat?!?

  80. Larry

    I read a newspaper report this morning that said radar suggested the meteor became a meteorite in Wisconsin. That makes me wonder what I saw here in Indiana at the right time and traveling in more or less the correct direction.

  81. fran

    these are the last days of humanity, earthquakes in difrentes countries, volcanic eruption in Iceland. Can this be a coincidence?

  82. Observer

    I saw a fast moving object very high in the night sky over Dayton, Ohio on April 15th at around 9:00 pm. Does anyone have any idea what this might have been? It looked much higher in the sky than an airplane. Thanks.

  83. CR

    @fran (89)
    Relax; yep, it’s coincidental.
    There are earthquakes & volcanic eruptions EVERY SINGLE DAY around the planet; the media only tend to report the big ones such as the Icelandic volcano. (And in America–though that may not be from where you’re posting–science news almost always gets under-reported, especially if it takes place in countries other than America.) Twenty years ago, a now out-of-publication monthly magazine called ‘Earth’ highlighted in each issue how many earthquakes & volcanic eruptions occurred worldwide in the past 30 days (well, 60 or so by the time the magazine made it to newsstands). I was initially surprised by the sheer volume, until I realized that this was normal for our dynamic, geologically active planet, and that most were actually relatively tiny.

    Further, back to astronomy, fireballs light up the sky from time to time, but smaller meteors are a fairly common appearance. I used to drive at night on back-country roads in the course of my work, and just about every couple of days, I’d see a meteor. Every couple of months or so, I’d see one big & bright enough to leave a faint trail in the sky for a few seconds, including a couple of meteors that broke up into several distinct, separate fragments. (Never saw such a big one like the Wisconsin Meteorite, though, and didn’t hear any sonic booms.) Look up at the night sky once in a while & get familiar with it, and it doesn’t seem quite so scary or ‘out to get you’ as it might have in the past.

    The point is, stuff happens ALL THE TIME! With the Internet, it’s now easier than ever before to keep abreast of all this stuff; it’s not that it’s happening more frequently, it’s just that we as individuals have better abilities to hear about it. One would think that with such access, ignorance would go down, but it seems instead to be on the rise… I suspect that people only access the ‘headlines’ and don’t bother to do a little deeper digging to find out the facts behind the sensationalism.

  84. Gordie

    I saw this as I drove towards Auburndale on Hwy 10 a few minutes past 10 PM. At first, it was this awesome shooting stsr with a huge tail. It got bigger and bigger and then came through the few clouds that were in the sky and it presented as a huge fireball that was intense enough to light up most of the sky in that area. Then, as it neared the ground, it just went out.

  85. Fred

    Answer to Fran:

    Yes.

  86. Larry

    I saw it from Minooka IL just south of I 80

  87. CGB Spender

    “Old Muley”, make sure you never mention the Tunguska Event again…

  88. Wait a minute everybody! I have a problem with the basic assumption that this fire ball thing was a meteor and here is why. If you google ‘meteor in Wisconsin’ you’ll get a video that includes street traffic in the frame. This gives you a point of reference as to how fast the mystery body is traveling. Combine this video with eye witness accounts that ‘it’ was traveling at a very low altitude,..some said 2,000 feet and you have have another mystery , that being how do you get a sonic boom from something traveling so slowly? Also, if ‘it’ did explode as some theorize, there would definately be debris on the ground, the pieces wouldn’t burn up in a 2,000 foot fall! By comparing the street traffic speed with the ‘fire ball thing’ it appears to be traveling slower than the stall speed of most aircraft! What was it? I don’t know. But quickly labeling ‘it’ a meteor isn’t going to get us any closer to the truth! We all should be given the chance to formulate our own interpretations of what we’re seeing here before being told by the media what it is we’re seeing! I’m certainly not a member of academia but I’m worried that events like these are too quickly dismissed by those that are because of their reliance on the media to interpret and dismiss these events. We need more independent thinkers now more than ever.

  89. LILI

    I was on Bradley Rd. Near Dretzka Park at about 10:05pm. In Milwaukee, WI. I looked at the sky because I saw something bright off the corner of my eye. I started at at it and thought it was a plane, it was tiny at first it almost looked like a plane was falling, you know it kinda looked like when you can only see the lights off a plane but then it was growing very quickly in size and brigher! The colors were these amazing bright blue, green and a little bit of yellowish color. It was like the size of the moon or bigger when I saw it get its biggest size. It had a long tail with the same colors. It was going so fast, it probably lasted like 20 seconds from when I spotted it and it was going down in a 41degree angle. At one point when it got to its hugest size, it exploded and lit up the whole sky! and I saw almost like little sparks when it exploded. It was reported that about five miles north of where I was, in Cedarburg, WI a fire department recieved a call that 2 trees about 30 feet high were in fire. so some of the debree was found , also just saw recently in the news here that the meteor was 3,000 pounds and about 2 to 3 feet wide. INCREDIBLE. I did see that they found some of the debree and are studying it. They said about 1 ounce of the rock is worth $10.

  90. Andy Bright

    I lived on 42nd street in cedar rapids at the apartment complex called “the point at cedar rapids”. i was moving and 2 friends of mine were standing outside with me when i saw it, i was facing north to NW, it was moving in a westernly direction. the size of it based on where i was and the distance made me think it was a airplane on fire and crashing. a friend of mine caught a glimpse of it for about 2 and a half seconds before it disappeared behind a apartment building. i saw it for about 5-7 awesome seconds. this is something i do believe i will never forget being as i am a lover of space related goings on. anyone who saw this is lucky to have witnessed such a phenomenon.

  91. i saw the meteor in thee nw skies i live in sauk city wi. Iwas laying in bed watching t.v. when my whole bedroom lit up i looked too the west saw a large fire ball with along tail streaking what seemed north too south lasted approx 4 seconds definitely had fragments dropping off as it flew thee sky.i thought it was fire works at first also heard a low rumble spectacular orange color maybe few other colors mixed in happened so quick

  92. Terry

    Just seen a green and yello meteor north of UW Parkside at 4:07am it was so cool never seen anything like it in my life

  93. Courtney

    Terry I saw that too! I’ve been looking for reports to what it was but apparently not as many people were up at 4 am to see it. It was moving so slow and was such an electric green I didn’t think it was a meteor.

  94. Janet

    Saw it from Lincoln Park. It stretched across the sky travelling south by southeast and left a lingering bright green trail behind it. Spectacular!

  95. Natasha

    Did anyone see the red and orange fireballs on September 9th, 2010? I am in Amman, Jordan and it was at about 11:30 pm our time.
    I have it all on video and was wondering if anyone else out there saw this??? They sailed across the sky in a pattern, horizontally. I looked through binoculars and saw it was a red sphere, with a bright orange/yellow flame inside the outer red bubble. It was amazing. I have no clue what these are. There must have been about 10 in total over a 25 minute period. Did anyone else see this???
    I managed to find a video clip on google, by a reporter, of the exact same objects. Not on the same night. But there is, so far, only one video out there-that I can find- of these strange objects.

  96. Eric Schlueter

    I saw the entry very clearly. I was letting the dog do her job, in the backyard which was almost pitch black that night. I happened to notice a tinge of green, a florescent green, very lightly in the sky. I look up and there the object is starting to cross the sky. I know the basics of trajectories with objects of this nature, but man, this thing actually drove a sense of fear into me as the whole “what if” theories started running around up in the brain. I could actually see pieces breaking off this thing, it seemed allot closer than what it was I would not doubt. At the highlight of the event, the whole backyard lit up a bright green, bright enough that I could easily see everything, spooky spooky. I knew the distance from us was great because the great booming sound from this thing did not hit until the object was farther in the distance. As I listened to this deep rumbling, I did not really know what to expect. I was just waiting for a shock-wave of this large strange object after hitting the surface. Luckily, It was more fireworks show than destructive power. I feel very, very lucky to have seen this thing, yet a bit unsure about the skies knowing something this nature could literally extinct humanity on a larger scale. And yet, billions of dollars still go toward war.

    Dubuque, IA Forgot exact time, somewhere around 10’sh pm.

  97. Hello!
    I too saw the fireball…or whatever it was, from my backyard in Selah, Washington!
    I have been searching the internet to see if anyone else had reported this beautiful yet, shocking event.
    It was September 9, 2010 (I even marked it on my calendar!) at approximately 11:20 PM (Pacific Standard Time) and I too, was walking my dog when I saw the event in the eastern sky. What looked like a greenish ball with a very long tail, travel in a somewhat southern direction- traveling in a downwardly-horizontal trajection and then it fizzled out like a shooting star. This thing was huge compared to the rest of the stars in the sky.

  98. benny G.

    Back in 2002 I saw a green fireball that flew level with earth..It was dropping sparks that bounced off my neihbors trees….This object was a perfect silver (chrome like ) sphere…This was not your normal meteor…

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