Midwest Light Show: Fireball Streaks Across Night Sky

Thousands across the Midwest including Iowa saw a rather frightening but impressive celestial event late last night.  Now this morning, the first video is just coming in.  Just after 10 Wednesday Night, a fireball streaked across the Iowa sky.  People in a number of states called into television stations, law enforcement and weather offices reporting the blazing sight.

In fact, at least one Sheriff’s Deputy captured the fireball on his dashboard camera.  This video was shot by Howard County Deputy Tim Beckman. You’ll see the fireball in the top right portion of the screen, of interesting notice is how bright it makes the sky as it burns up.meteor

Of course the cause of this sight was a meteor, a big rock falling from space and burning up in our atmosphere.  Did it reach the ground? It’s hard to say.  If it did it was very small and would be impossible to find unless it hit something.  Because these events are sudden and unexpected they are hard to document.  Fortunately a web cam (right) captured the flash seen in the sky just after 10:00pm Wednesday Night.

radar A local TV radar also recorded false returns in southwest Wisconsin at the moment the fireball passed through.

Generally these events are rare and harmless.  There are reports of fireballs that led to a meteor crashing into a home or a vehicle.  Fortunately in most cases the damage is minor.  If you saw the fireball and captured a photo, please send those to us at [email protected]  Nice to see the cosmos giving eastern Iowa a light show while the weather stays quiet.

2paint09srm There are a number of other images the National Weather Service captured thanks to Nexrad Radar.  There are a number of different images.  For now I’ve posted those on our facebook fan page.  I will compile them all there and later create a photo gallery here on the blog.  The image you see to the right is one of those pictures, it shows the trial of the fireball captured by National Weather Service Radar in La Crosse, IA.

By the way, I came across this video on some websites also reported to be from the fireball.  It is a very cool video but I want to point out it is NOT of last night’s fireball.  It is actually from a November 2009 fireball in South Africa.  I’ve posted the video here simply because it is some of the best fireball video I’ve ever seen.  But again, this is not from last night’s meteor.

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