Fireball meteors like this occur once or twice a month all over Earth. Image credit: R. Mikaelyan
A fireball was seen lighting up the night skies of southeastern Michigan, United States on the night of 16 January 2018. This American Meteor Society received over 355 fireball reports from seven different states, and the National Earthquake Information Centre even measured a magnitude-2.0 event on a seismometer corresponding to the fireball. NASA has confirmed that this was a meteor with a trajectory from Brighton to Howell, both of Michigan.
The dazzling meteor occurred at 8:10 p.m. Central Time (2:10 a.m. Greenwich Mean Time on the 17 January), and caught many people’s attention as it broke up in the atmosphere, 20 miles (32 kilometres) above the surface. NASA estimated that the meteor was originally two metres in diameter, and travelled at about 28,000 miles per hour (45,000 kilometres per hour).
“So this one was on the slow side, which is one reason why it made it so deep into the atmosphere,” says Bill Crooke, lead of NASA’s Meteoroid Environment Office in Huntsville, Alabama, United States. “The faster you move, the more energy you dump in the atmosphere, which heats you up more and ...