Large fireball in the Midwest

From various sources.

From WISN-TV's weather cam via CNN - click for video

From the NWS in Milwaukee, video links and radar images follow.

MANY REPORTS OF A BRIGHT FIREBALL HAVE BEEN FLOODING COUNTY SHERIFF

DISPATCH CENTERS ACROSS THE SOUTHERN HALF OF WISCONSIN THROUGH THE NIGHT.

THE FIREBALL WAS VISIBLE BETWEEN 10 PM AND 1015 PM CDT.

NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE OFFICES IN LA CROSSE…DAVENPORT AND DES

MOINES IOWA…AS WELL AS ST LOUIS AND KANSAS CITY MISSOURI HAVE

RECEIVED NUMEROUS REPORTS OF A FIREBALL FROM LAW ENFORCEMENT

OFFICIALS AND THE PUBLIC AROUND THE SAME TIME AS THE REPORTS IN

OUR COUNTY WARNING AREA.

WHILE NO OFFICIAL DETERMINATION HAS BEEN MADE OF WHAT CAUSED THE

FIREBALL…SPACE DEBRIS…METEOR ETC…THERE IS A METEOR SHOWER

CURRENTLY OCCURRING CALLED THE GAMMA VIRGINIDS. IT BEGAN APRIL 4TH

AND IS EXPECTED TO LAST THROUGH APRIL 21ST…WITH THE PEAK

ACTIVITY APRIL 14TH AND 15TH. A LARGE METEORITE COULD HAVE CAUSED

THE BRILLIANT FIREBALL THAT HAS BEEN REPORTED.

WE WILL PASS ALONG ANY FURTHER INFORMATION THAT BECOMES AVAILABLE.

Webcam video from UW-Madison AOS/SSEC:  http://www.aos.wisc.edu/fireball/2010_04_14_fireball_loop_1024x768_long.gif

==================================

Fireball Wednesday Night 4/14

Just after 10 pm CDT Wednesday evening April 14th, a fireball or very bright meteor was observed streaking across the sky.  The fireball was seen over the northern sky, moving from west to east.   Well before it reached the horizon, it broke up into smaller pieces and was lost from sight.   The fireball was seen across Northern Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, and Southern Wisconsin.  Several reports of a prolonged sonic boom were received from areas north of Highway 20, along with shaking of homes, trees and various other objects including wind chimes.   As of late Wednesday evening, it is unknown whether any portion of this meteorite hit the ground.

The fireball was caught on a webcam from UW-Madison AOS/SSEC.

www.aos.wisc.edu/fireball/2010_04_14_fireball_loop_1024x768_long.gif

The fireball was also caught by a Howard County Iowa Sheriff’s Deputy.

http://addins.kwwl.com/blogs/weather/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/fireball-web.wmv

This video was provided by KWWL TV.

Also, the Doppler Radar from the National Weather Service in the Quad Cities appeared to capture a portion of the smoke trail from the fireball at 0302z (1002 PM CDT), as seen in the image below.  It appears as a thin line extending across portions of Grant and Iowa Counties in Wisconsin. This trail is positioned nearly 88 miles north-northeast of Davenport, Iowa at an elevation of just over 24,000 ft AGL.

click to enlarge

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80 thoughts on “Large fireball in the Midwest

  1. It’s a ball of plasma fired from the space jellyfish about to move over Jones. What is that cloud? 🙂

  2. Sometime around 1980 I had came home late (was living at my parent’s house then, around age 19) and was *ahem* relieving myself in our backyard when I saw the ground light up like someone had turned a flood light on. I looked up and saw a bright object streaking from east to west and pretty much right over my head. I could [i]hear[/i] it! Then it broke up into several pieces, making a number of booming sounds as it did so. It looked to me as if the debris could have possibly hit the ground a few miles to the west of me. I’ll never forget the sound it made, sort of like a fighter jet passing overhead.
    Never heard anything about it. For all I know I was the only person to see the darn thing. It was about 3AM if I remember correctly, SW Missouri.

  3. The comments at CNN are more fun to read. BTW, was it really visible for 15 minutes? Seems like an awfully long time for a meteor to be visible. I’m in North Western Indiana and wishing that I was outside last night, but it was awfully chilly at 11pm EST to be randomly outside looking at the sky.

  4. Earthquakes, volcanoes, fireballs. More evidence that global warming is increasing the frequency of extreme events. Looking at my calendar, I see that we are getting closer to 2012 and The Day After Tomorrow.
    In ancient times, people knew how to properly handle these events – with human sacrifices. Modern politicians are tending towards the same direction, only now they want to make sacrifices which hurt billions of people.

  5. Ask the extremists. Hansen, Romm, Susie Solomon and the rest. They seem to have all the answers. There has to be a way they can turn this into a reason to be afraid of something new.

  6. I live in mid-north Indiana and was out with my dog in my backyard and saw a flash in the sky to my northwest. Didn’t think much it because I thought a thunderstorm popped up due to the warm daytime heating we have been having in the midwest. When I checked my radar, there was nothing and I shrugged it off. Interesting that I might have seen the same thing. The object coming down from the sky precedes a smaller flash to the right in the video before the larger flash. Any reports of meteorite fragments being found anywhere in the region?

  7. Eddie (09:39:45) :
    BTW, was it really visible for 15 minutes? Seems like an awfully long time for a meteor to be visible.
    The trail of debris is often visible that long or longer. Just like a contrail is visible long after the airplane has passed.

  8. So if this thing turned out to be a Tunguska event do you think the AGWers would still be worried about man’s CO2 emissions?

  9. I saw it as it came down, it was a stony meteorite about the diameter of a soccer ball. I didn’t see it explode, it was behind some trees. It had a very unusual green tint (copper?)
    My wife, as always, thought I was making it up!
    OK, now how much heat did that impart to the atmosphere? Did the IPCC figure out a forcing for meteorites?

  10. I live in SW Minnesota, had stepped outside to watch the lightning from the storms forming up to the south of me and saw the flash. This morning there were reports on the radio of people seeing it north of Minneapolis as well. To me it appeared to be headed in a southeasterly direction which would match up well with the other reports. It backlighted the tops of the storm clouds for a half a second, very cool effect. Much brighter than lightning.

  11. I’m so disappointed. I live in Madison, WI and was outside a good deal last night, but I must have been indoors at the time. Drat!

  12. This has absolutely nothing to do with Professor Hansen, Professor Mann and our Gav.
    See, there was only one ball and not loads of balls.

  13. The video in Milwaukee is more than 100 miles from the reported track! How high did this have to be for this video from the lakefront? 24,000 feet sounds too low. Heck what did this look like in Dodgeville?

  14. “As of late Wednesday evening, it is unknown whether any portion of this meteorite hit the ground.”
    Um…. Until it hits the ground, it’s not a “meteorite”; it’s a “meteor”. Before it enters the atmosphere, it’s a “meteoroid”.
    So it’s unknown whether any portion of the meteor became a meteorite.

  15. @Eddie (9:39:45): Visible for about 10 seconds. Here’s a video from a police dashboard cam: Wisconsin fireball
    I’m still kicking myself. I was stargazing last night!!! Must have been in the house using the bathroom or something. Curses!

  16. Holy crapola! Global Warming is falling on us in big chunks! I wonder why algore didn’t warn us about that?

  17. What I see from the GIF is a meteor falling before the smaller flash is seen before the big one is seen. It looks like a cluster of meteors to me. The contrail of the first one I mentioned is seen when the big flash illuminates it. After the contrail is exposed the meteor can still be seen falling after the big flash. The contrail seen on the left might be an aircraft’s or one belonging to an earlier meteor. The video cycle begins with the “falling star” motion off to the right. Even the other “star” to its left seems to move a bit that is positioned at the 11 o’clock edge of the large flash. That is a busy little sequence.

  18. RE: Cyber (09:19:55)
    You know, you could easily have said you were smoking, standing around or just passing through the yard, and no one would have known the difference. Just sayin’.

  19. It was a part of my mothership, from whence I project my mighty hologram to Live Earth concerts.

  20. I saw one in the late ’50’s, late summer dusk, in an orchard in northwest Iowa. Orange-yellow, apparent size comparable to the full moon, no sound, no trail (too dark?). It was the second best two seconds of my life. 🙂

  21. I have witnessed earthquake lights twice. Believe me…just hold on your seats and pray saint AL Baby.

  22. CRS, Dr.P.H. (10:19:35) :
    I saw it as it came down, it was a stony meteorite about the diameter of a soccer ball. I didn’t see it explode, it was behind some trees. It had a very unusual green tint (copper?)

    Sounds a bit like H.G. Wells. And then the end of the cylinder began to unscrew ….

  23. “In ancient times, people knew how to properly handle these events – with human sacrifices”
    Thanks for the laugh, SG.

  24. Well I’ve heard of some pretty big cosmetic rays hitting the earth; somewhere up in the 10^19 eV or more; but this one is a humdinger; how did that sneak though Leif’s solar wind shield.
    Maybe Thor is just bragging he’s bigger than Gaia.

  25. Unusual not to have a large trail – must have been quite solid. The last one I saw (not this bright) left a trail the equivalent of 10 or 15 Moon diameters.
    .

  26. BTW, was it really visible for 15 minutes? Seems like an awfully long time for a meteor to be visible.

    Even 15 seconds seems long, but that would be believable.

  27. Cyber (09:19:55) :
    Sometime around 1980 […] I saw the ground light up like someone had turned a flood light on. I looked up and saw a bright object streaking from east to west and pretty much right over my head. I could [i]hear[/i] it! Then it broke up into several pieces, making a number of booming sounds as it did so. […]

    That’s almost exactly what I saw in the fall of 1974 over Stillwater, OK. I was knee deep in astronomy at the university at that time and that night had a small telescope set up our huge backyard on the edge of the town. One of my roommates had wandered out to see what I was up to. I was pointing out some constellations and giving him a brief celestial navigation coarse as this huge fireball went directly overhead, also east to west, slightly to the south. It growled, hissed and popped as it streaked toward the horizon while leaving a distinct redish and green tail of smoke as it went overhead then exploded with a bang into three pieces they continued over the horizon! We both were silent for a moment and turned to each other with our mouth wide open, “Did you see that sucker!?”. Boy, that was an understatement! You will never forget an experience that that, guaranteed.
    Cyber, if only the dates matched it could have been the very same fireball. Stillwater is WSW of the Arkansas-Missouri border though it is hard to get the scale of the event. Was it huge and high in the stratosphere seen by multiple states or was it small and low being a rather local event. Never heard a bit of it on the news either. Today it would be plastered on ever news outlet world-wide!

  28. “I saw it as it came down, it was a stony meteorite about the diameter of a soccer ball.”
    Damn, now that’s some pretty sharp eyes there. Especially at night.
    (the blue-green tint suggests to me that it was a piece of space debris, heavy in copper)

  29. I live in Britain and nothing nearly so exciting ever happens here.
    I did see a hedgehog the other day and that’s about as interesting as it gets…

  30. George E. Smith (12:25:42) :
    but this one is a humdinger; how did that sneak though Leif’s solar wind shield.
    Maybe Thor is just bragging he’s bigger than Gaia.

    Be careful George! Dr.S is a most respectful inquisition friar, can take you to the stake…

  31. Warned ya if you didn’t pay tribute, the earth would burst into flame! 🙂
    Best,
    Frank

  32. I had a similar experience back in ’84. I was in Cochabamba, Bolivia at dusk, waiting outside for friends to come over to play cops-n-robbers when I saw what looked like a handful of live coals moving across the sky from west to east somewhat lowish in the northern sky but above the mountains.
    They didn’t seem to move very fast so I figured they were very far away but they still looked very big with a definite reddish orange tinge (no green or blue or even white). The “coals” were of slightly differing sizes and randomly spaced and didn’t seem to separate or otherwise change much until they disappeared out of sight to my right. I have no idea how long it took for them to cross since time seemed to stand still while I gaped at the sight but it seemed like a very long time, particularly compared to a meteor.
    I’ve always wished I had a camera and have wondered what it was that I saw. I’ve even periodically tried to find references online to any big meteor event in that area around that time but have never found anything.

  33. The Army just put out a statement that it was some top-secret experimental ballon connected to some project, Project Mogul I think they said….

  34. Is it possible the ball was some form of lightning? Looking down on the photo which looks like flower, the first thought was it resembled a sunspot.

  35. richard (13:06:10) :
    I live in Britain and nothing nearly so exciting ever happens here.
    I did see a hedgehog the other day and that’s about as interesting as it gets…

    You just HIDE everything exciting, like CRU did. However what about your famous britain ghosts and “ghosts to become” green politicians?

  36. Re: Cyber (09:19:55) :
    Coming home at 3:00 am and relieving yourself in the backyard might explain why no one else saw your fireball in the sky. I saw that same fireball once when I peeled backward off a bar stool in a Charleston, SC beer bar. Like your own experience, the other patrons denied seeing the brilliant flash of light that was revealed to me at the exact moment I contacted ground zero.

  37. “”” enneagram (13:25:30) :
    George E. Smith (12:25:42) :
    but this one is a humdinger; how did that sneak though Leif’s solar wind shield.
    Maybe Thor is just bragging he’s bigger than Gaia.
    Be careful George! Dr.S is a most respectful inquisition friar, can take you to the stake… “””
    Well I used to photograph lightning strikes near St Charles Mo. Every Summer Sunday at 4:30 PM, there was a thunderstorm, and a colleage and I would climb out of the swimming pool, and go set up our cameras in a corn field.
    We got some pretty good strike pictures; sitting in our car, and triggering the remote; well until this tornado went through and tore up the whole darn corn field right before our eyes. We hightailed it back to the safety of the swimming pool and threw our underwear in the laundry.

  38. I was enroute home to Pasco,Wa back in 1978 in a twin Cessna that
    I flew for a Air Charter outfit. Over the central Washington Cascades,
    the whole world went blue-white! I could see Mt. Shasta from just East of
    Rainer, all the way north to Baker. Lit up like day, it lasted for a good
    two minutes. ATC lit up with “WHAT WAS THAT!!”….

  39. richard (13:06:10) :
    I live in Britain and nothing nearly so exciting ever happens here.

    Check out Three Men in Search of Monsters.

  40. Re: Douglas DC (15:25:45) :
    “I was enroute home to Pasco,Wa back in 1978 in a twin Cessna that
    I flew for a Air Charter outfit… the whole world went blue-white…“WHAT WAS THAT!!”
    See my response to “Cyber” (14.23.40). Drinking and flying is an even worse idea than drinking and relieving yourself in the yard.

  41. Douglas DC (15:25:45) :
    I was enroute home to Pasco,Wa back in 1978 in a twin Cessna that
    I flew for a Air Charter outfit. Over the central Washington Cascades,
    the whole world went blue-white! I could see Mt. Shasta from just East of
    Rainer, all the way north to Baker. Lit up like day, it lasted for a good
    two minutes. ATC lit up with “WHAT WAS THAT!!”….
    …Search “Operation Starfish”

  42. “In ancient times, people knew how to properly handle these events – with human sacrifices”
    Yes and the human they sacrificed was the king. Perhaps we should reinstate the practice…. Iceland has a nice active volcano available
    “The tradition which associated the sacrifice of the king or his children with a great dearth points clearly to the belief, so common among primitive folk, that the king is responsible for the weather and the crops, and that he may justly pay with his life for the inclemency of the one or the failure of the other.”
    http://www.bartleby.com/196/65.html
    Oh Pachauri where are YOU?

  43. The association of sound reported with such events interests me. Given how high up these events occur you’d expect a 30+ second delay in sound reaching the ground. As the events themselves seldom last that long, you’d expect the sound to arrive significantly after the observed event. Yet that often isn’t what observers report.

  44. These stories are great. I love reading everyone’s experiences over the years.
    I wasn’t aware that they were referring to the contrail that was visible for 15 minutes. I assumed that they meant that the fireball was visible for 15 minutes. Wouldn’t a meteor strike just top off the recent trend with the volcano in Iceland.

  45. I don’t know what that fireball was was but one of my neighbors is starting to look suspiciously like a giant seed pod.

  46. Sometime I look at some of the people in our government, and I begin to wonder if they hatched out of pods.
    We’re at peace, always.

  47. Claude Harvey (17:23:56) :
    Re: Douglas DC (15:25:45) : “I was enroute home to Pasco,Wa back in 1978 in a twin Cessna that I flew for a Air Charter outfit… the whole world went blue-white…“WHAT WAS THAT!!”
    See my response to “Cyber” (14.23.40). Drinking and flying is an even worse idea than drinking and relieving yourself in the yard.

    Um, don’t remember where I heard it ( I went to school with a lot of folks who’s family were either nuke lab guys or spooks or both … and we’d sometimes talk… {the school was ‘approved’ for kids of folks who had clearance and might be subject to blackmail / kidnap. Yeah, different world… Strange when you are dating a lab officers daughter and you KNOW “Clarence Clearance” is around somewhere, but just can’t pick him out. Yet when ‘something happens’ there are surprisingly fast and appropriate ‘things that respond’…} and the talk turned to ‘things nuclear’ from time to time.)
    One of the things discussed was detecting nuclear bomb tests.
    The story goes that the first spy sats to look for them were reporting about 2 false positives / year. Then they (friends Dad…) figured out that about that often a rock from space hit the air with about the power / flash size of a small nuke somewhere on the planet …
    Most of these are in the middle of nowhere and never reach the ground, so folks don’t notice. Some are during daylight, others are above thick cloud decks (and would probably look like bright lightning). Others are seen by maybe one fishing boat (if anyone is looking at the sky then…). But the world has a lot of “big empty” in it… so it’s typically many years between ‘widely observed’ events.
    The “fix” was to look for a ‘double flash’ signature that nukes make but meteors blowing up at altitude do not make…
    I suspect the “size threshold” for detection was probably lower than a 1 KT air burst as they would also want to detect partial burial tests… but the details of threshold were “unavailable” to our discussions. (Though we did discuss the Taylor bomb that was the smallest ever made to go boom…)
    So I’d not cast aspersions on a witness who says they saw something “blow up” or give off a very bright flash of light. Rather, I’d be more amazed at how few times It’s observed and reported…

  48. Sometime very roughly around 1965, at dusk, in southeastern Massachusetts, I saw a huge fireball, looked to be about the size of the full moon, with a trail, and with somewhat multi-colored flames on the object itself, look as if they were falling from it, although I don’t mean that I saw them at any significant angle below the object.
    I heard the sizzling sound that people have reported hearing from large meteors since the Middle Ages (or something), which authorities used to think was imaginary, but which some Japanese seem now to have shown may result from an electric or electromagnetic effect on foil, or something one is wearing, or something nearby to the person, or his hair.
    I stupidly thought it might be a burning airplane, so I got ahold of a buddy and we went driving around the area that night looking for the crash or burning forest or whatever. The next day, the news reported that it was a meteor, had entered the atmosphere over Norway and exploded near Albany, NY, with the explosion witnessed by an airplane pilot there. I have a problem with whether that’s consistent with the direction of travel I observed, but that’s hard to tell with flying objects (at least for a person who doesn’t know anything about judging the matter).
    Anyway, it was amazing.
    To the person who says nothing exciting like this ever happens in the UK, I say that’s not true, not that I know of anything exciting that has happened there, but that things like this are easy to miss, unless they’re VERY spectacular, so they’d get you out of bed or what have you.

  49. Since everyone else is telling there “sighting” stories, I’ll share mine. It wasn’t a meteor, but probably a much rarer sighting.
    One early morning (I think it was 3-4 am) in the late 90s, I was driving home with a friend after a night out on the town in Austin, Texas. Driving south on Interstate 35, I saw a streak across the sky from the western horizon to about the middle of my southern view. It looked sorta like a jet contrail. Except 1) it was 10 times as wide; 2) it was green, and GLOWING, bright enough to be seen well, at night; and 3) the leading end of it was moving 20 times faster than any jet I had ever seen. For a minute, I actually thought it was visitors from another planet. We pulled over and watched it zoom over the eastern horizon, which took just a few seconds. Back on the road, we turned on the radio and a caller was reporting seeing the SPACE SHUTTLE fly over. Apparently, everyone in town knew about it but me.
    Anyway, when I dropped my buddy off at his apartment, we turned on the TV, and watched it land live in Florida. About 900 miles away as the crow (or in this case, space shuttle) flies. That was no more than 10 minutes after it passed Austin. 900 miles in 10 minutes. 5,400 miles per hour. And that’s an AVERAGE speed – at the end of that trip, the speed was near zero. So assuming constant deceleration, it had to be over 10,000 mph when it passed Austin.
    That was a truly amazing sight. I doubt I’ll ever be fortunate enough to see it again. And the vast majority of people will NEVER see it.
    Regards,
    Trevor

  50. A timely reminder of where NASA’s R&D dollars should be going, rather than into studying ‘climate change’. Finding and deflecting dangerous near-Earth-objects should be top priority, not somewhere down near the bottom.
    /Mr Lynn

  51. I can’t believe you guys are missing something so obvious. It explains this as well as the unprecedented closure of so many airports in Europe.
    Three words: Large Hadron Collider
    On March 30th, 2010 it began producing subatomic events with “big bang” energies. Who knows what kind of nasties the thing is spewing out. Microscopic black holes or quantum universes with half-lives of hours or days? They assured us nothing like this would happen but it’s evidently happening as we speak. Where’s Al Gore when you really need him?

  52. lol, Large Hadron Collider..
    i hope you’re joking. The amount of crackpot theories here makes me laugh. As for the other guy talking about the increase in earthquakes etc, there has been NO increase. Do some research and stop being a reactionary idiot.

  53. bright green, brighter than lightning, falling amid lightning strikes? that’s no meteor, son, that’s a good old-fashioned bolide exactly like Project Sign used to study in New Mexico back in ’47.

  54. Douglas DC: were you in near-earth orbit? you can’t see Shasta from Rainier, silly goose.

  55. Memories….I was driving in downstate Illinois in the early 1980’s, working on one of my industrial anaerobic wastewater sites, and saw a stony meteorite as it exploded.
    It made a cool crackling sound and a nice “POP!!” when it exploded, virtually over my head. Very nice! I considered looking for fragments, but figured they would be impossible to find in planted fields. I’m sure it was a typical chondrite meteorite.
    This latest bolide should turn up some impact fragments, as fields haven’t been planted yet. The treasure-hunters are out in force, as fragments are worth a bit of cash.
    Of course, I blame the warming of the planet, as the atmosphere is expanding from the additional temperature, snaring fragments from the
    Edgeworth-Kuiper belt and Oort cloud…
    In addition to dying polar bears and parched rain forests, we now have to worry about massive comet hits and asteroid collisions, all because of carbon dioxide….

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