Science First Look

Blazing green meteor lights up Midwestern skies

A meteor streaked across the skies over Lake Michigan Monday morning across several states in the Midwest, accompanied by a sonic boom.

Midwestern night owls may have noticed a fireball streaking across the sky early Monday morning, as a meteor passing over Lake Michigan lit up the night. 

The meteor, which appeared around 1:30 a.m., was accompanied by a sonic boom that shook houses in some areas, meteorologists said. The American Meteor Society, which documents meteor showers, reportedly received more than 185 sighting reports from parts of Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota, Ohio, Iowa, Kentucky, New York, and Ontario Monday morning. 

"It was basically visible for a long distance," Ricky Castro, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service’s Chicago office, told The Chicago Tribune. "It was certainly an interesting event, uncommon for the area." 

While a fireball sighting is an exciting occurrence, more meteors enter the Earth's atmosphere than one might think, according to National Weather Service meteorologist J.J. Wood. In October, the American Meteor Society received more than 500 reports from individuals in ten different states – plus Canada – when a giant meteor streaked across the sky.

"In one spot, they're relatively rare, but overall, they're not all that uncommon across the world," Mr. Wood told the Fond Du Lac Reporter in Wisconsin. 

Police cruiser dashcams in Wisconsin and Illinois captured Monday's astronomical event on video, shared in tweets from the National Weather Service in Chicago: 

"Our night shift lieutenant said that it basically lit up the sky like daylight," Jason Weber, community liaison officer with the Fox Crossing Police in Wisconsin, told the Fond Du Lac Reporter. 

Meteorologists say it isn't clear whether the meteor landed in Lake Michigan or broke up in the sky. 

This report includes material from the Associated Press.