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Northern U.S. meteor dazzles thousands

Early Monday morning, thousands of people across multiple northern U.S. states watched a brilliant meteor streak across the sky. It then plunged into Lake Michigan.

The video above shows a bright green meteor caught early in the morning on February 6, 2017 by a Lisle, Illinois police car dash cam. It was just one of the 467 reports (and counting …) received so far by the American Meteor Society (AMS) about of a fireball event over Wisconsin and Illinois early Monday morning. The green fireball – or especially bright meteor, or bit of debris from space – flashed across Earth’s sky around 01:27 CST (07:27 UTC). Witnesses from Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Iowa, New York, Kentucky, Minnesota and Ontario, Canada also reported the event.

The AMS later said that the event they called #454-2017 was the 14th-largest meteor sighting they had recorded since beginning their work in 2005.

Did you see it? Report your fireball sighting here

The video below shows the meteor as recorded by the east camera on the roof of the Atmospheric, Oceanic & Space Sciences Building on the University of Wisconsin campus.

The next video is from Marcella Canfora:

See more videos via the American Meteor Society

The next video, from the American Meteor Society’s YouTube page, shows the meteor’s trajectory and its plunge into Lake Michigan:

The American Meteor Society described how it drew this conclusion in an article titled Green Fireball over Wisconsin: Citizen Science at Work. The article’s author, Vincent Perlerin, wrote:

Monday, February 6th 2017, was a busy day for the American Meteor Society team. We received tens of thousands of visits on our website and even more on our Facebook page, Twitter account and YouTube account. Today, we are still receiving reports about the large green fireball that occurred over Wisconsin around 01:31 CST (07:25 UT).

…When enough reports are submitted about such an event, a trajectory of the fireball meteor can be plotted – this trajectory sometimes lead to the discovery of meteorites. This trajectory is calculated using an average of all the data shared by the witness through the online fireball reports (azimuths, elevation, etc.) The obtained trajectory can be seen on the Event page by clicking the “Show trajectory” button on the top left of the map.

While we only received 165 reports, we were able to determine a first trajectory: the fireball was traveling from the Southwest to Northeast and it ended its flight on the Lake Michigan somewhere between Sheboygan, WI and Manitowoc WI.

Read more from the American Meteor Society

Bottom line: Early in the morning on February 6, 2017, thousands of people across Wisconsin, Illinois and other northern U.S. states watched a brilliant meteor streak across the sky. The American Meteor Society later determined that the meteor – a piece of debris from outer space – plunged into Lake Michigan.

Deborah Byrd

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