Lucky skywatchers were dazzled by a brilliant fireball that briefly lit up the night sky over Michigan and neighboring states on Tuesday (January 16, 2018) and caused the equivalent of a magnitude 2.0 earthquake, according to the United States Geological Survey.
The American Meteor Society has received 398 reports of the fireball, which happened at 8:10 p.m. CST (01:10 UTC). The fireball was seen primarily from Michigan but was also seen from Illinois, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Missouri and Ontario (Canada). According to the American Meteor Society:
This was a very slow moving meteor – speed of about 28,000 miles per hour (45,000km/hour). This fact, combined with the brightness of the meteor (which suggests a fairly big space rock), shows that the object penetrated deep into the atmosphere before it broke apart (which produced the sounds heard by at least 77 observers). It is likely that there are meteorites on the ground near this region.
Here are some of the social media reports:
— #CreativeMich (@CreativeMich) January 17, 2018
— Kate Tillotson (@KateWWMT) January 17, 2018
Dashcam footage of the Michigan meteor that happened tonight: pic.twitter.com/R7QI7kHOtc
— Michigan Bests (@MichiganBests) January 17, 2018
Eleanor Imster has helped write and edit EarthSky since 1995. She was an integral part of the award-winning EarthSky radio series almost since it began until it ended in 2013. Today, as Lead Editor at EarthSky.org, she helps present the science and nature stories and photos you enjoy. She also serves as one of the voices of EarthSky on social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter and G+. She and her husband live in Tennessee and have two grown sons.