DETROIT (WWJ) – A meteor is to blame for scaring people all over Michigan and much of the Midwest Tuesday night as reports of a fire in the sky seen from Wisconsin to Pennsylvania.
Calls poured into the WWJ Newsroom as person after person described seeing an intense “white light” in the sky — followed by a concussive “boom” or explosion.
Head of Astronomy at Cranbrook Institute of Science Michael Narlock describes the flash of light as a “bolide” — a large meteor exploding in the atmosphere.
“I’ve heard people from Windsor to Chicago saw the flash – so that tells me that it was pretty high up in our atmosphere when it happened, and most likely incredibly energetic to be seen across that distance,” said Narlock.
“I haven’t seen all the reports,” he said, “I just know from the experience that I had here at home — it seems consistent — a couple of colleagues called me right away and said they heard a sound and sounds are sometimes are sometimes associated with a bolide – as they streak across the sky. It certainly was incredibly bright … kind of felt like daytime there for just a brief second. Though I would guess — not knowing, not seeing all the video or seeing any information to the contrary that more likely than not this was a bolide … very similar to what happened in Russia in 2013 — that was sort of an internet sensation — where the dashboard camera saw the breakup of this meteorite as it dashed across the sky.”
Accuweather meteorologist Dave Bowers spoke live on WWJ about the phenomenon:
“It looked like it had been within a 1,000 feet off the ground when it finally did explode – quite a dramatic event,” says Bowers. “There’s been over 200 reports of seeing this from as far away as Peoria and just north of Pittsburgh, but it looks like it actually came down in the northwest suburbs of Detroit.”
The explosion heard and seen in Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Canada. Witnesses included Gary Krupczak who was driving through Brownstown Township, Michigan near I-75 and Sibley Road shortly after 8 p.m. and saw a flash.
” … and then like a ball of sparks – it looked like it was so close — it looked like it was right on top of me,” said Krupczak.
“It was so close, that I thought for sure that somebody had launched some kind of fireworks, some kind of large rocket — for a minute I thought, was that a meteor or was it a large fireworks? So, I guess something happened.”
The United States Geological Survey says the explosion caused a magnitude 2.0 blast.