Bright green fireball: Meteor spotted over Wisconsin early Monday morning

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MILWAUKEE -- A flaming meteor was spotted early Monday in the lower sky across the Midwest, giving a rare up-close look at the phenomenon, which was caught on video, the National Weather Service said.

The American Meteor Society received more than 185 reports about of a fireball event seen over Wisconsin on Monday, February 6th around 1:27 a.m.

It was unclear if the meteor struck Earth or burned out. It might have even dropped into Lake Michigan, where it was briefly spotted on radar near Sheboygan, Wisconsin, at about 1:30 a.m.

Officials at the Milwaukee Public Museum said it takes a big chunk of space rock to create the kind of flash viewed Monday morning.

"I woke up to the reports that there was this bright meteor going across the sky. Tons of meteors hit Earth every day, but the big ones are sort of rare, where you see it like that in the sky and have it explode like that and turn green was totally awesome," Bob Bonadure, MPM Planetarium director said.

Bonadure said the green glow tells us what the rock was likely made out of.

"Making that green color, you probably have a lot of nickel in the meteor," Bonadure said.

Bonadure estimated the meteor to have been about the size of a basketball.

"So this is a hefty rock, a heavy metal rock," Bonadure said.

The Glendale Police Department indicated one of its officers caught the flash in the sky on a squad dash camera around 1:30 a.m.

"We were laughing about if we would ever have a post go viral and now we can say that we have," Joel Dhein with the Glendale Police Department said.

Weather Service meteorologists in Chicago, Milwaukee and Green Bay, Wisconsin, said meteor showers are common in the area -- but a spectacular view like this is rare. People reported seeing it from Wisconsin to Illinois to Indiana to Minnesota.

Some in Wisconsin reported hearing a sonic boom, which is caused when a meteor enters the atmosphere, said NWS meteorologist Sarah Marquardt in Milwaukee.

One witness in the Oshkosh area says it shook their building. The Oshkosh Police Department confirmed they received several reports of a loud boom. One officer said he saw a streak of light just east of the city.

Comments on social media indicated a range of responses from fear to excitement.

On Facebook, Sherry Udit wrote that she saw it in Oswego, Illinois, adding, "Thought I was just imagining things!"

And football fan Ryan Grubbs observed, "That was Matt Ryan's star crashing back to Earth ... lol."

Below is a video caught from the roof of the Atmospheric, Oceanic & Space Sciences Building on the University of Wisconsin campus.

The green fireball was seen primarily from Illinois and Wisconsin but witnesses from Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Iowa, New York, Kentucky, Minnesota and Ontario (Canada) also reported the event.

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The American Meteor Society said the track plots southwest to northeast -- ending its flight on Lake Michigan somewhere between Sheboygan and Manitowoc.

Below is a video of the first estimated trajectory of the event:

8 comments

  • jlheuer

    I live in New Franken, WI. It is about 10 miles east of Green Bay. Around 1:30am I couldn’t sleep and was getting out of bed when I saw a bright flash in my bedroom window. It seemed unusual so I even got up and looked out other windows in the house but didn’t see anything like a car that would have caused this light. Well after hearing the news this morning I bet it was this meteor.

    • Carl Rupp

      I live in Green Bay and I was watching television. I first saw a, what I first thought was a blue-white flash of a lightening strike. Then I waited to hear the crack, but it was followed by a low rumbling gradually growing in intensity until it shook my window. I first though that perhaps an explosion took place, but because I have a police scanner, I heard that this was a meteror. Cool, but a little unnerving as well. At 76,000 miles an hour, this basketball sized atomic bomb could have just as easily hit one of our cities.

  • Susan

    CHECK THIS OUT!!! We live in Sheboygan, just 3/4’s of a mile from Lake Michigan. We were ironically watching the season of NO TOMORROW (about an impending asteroid strike to end the world) on Netflix when we saw the sky light up at approximately 1:30am. I stated that the sky was lit up too long for it to be lightening. It then took about two minutes to hear the impact, which did not sound like thunder normally does. HOW COOL WAS THAT?!! I then watched the webcam at Blue Harbor to check if the water showed any signs of the impact. And now we just saw your top story and it was, as I had suspected, a meteor strike! SO COOL!! We only wish that we had gone to the window to witness more of this rare and phenomenal event, but what are the odds of seeing a meteor rather than thunder snow?
    Six years ago, however, I did see a tiny lit object silently fall to the ground just a mere half a block away. It was a tiny remnant of a meteorite landing on the ground near midnight.

  • BrightWhite

    The meteor was not “green,” the exposure in some of the cameras being posted on the web recording this event are off.

    I saw it blow up from what it seemed to be a couple blocks away from UWM, it was a significant bright white and after the light show, the meteor rained bright red, orange, and white sparks/flares. There was absolutely no boom or earthquake-like events, the people claiming this are delusional.

    • John

      Actually around here in Oshkosh there were many that heard a boom and it caused a lot of buildings to vibrate. What causes the loud noise that everyone heard was actually a sonic boom from the meteor entering the earths atmosphere. This was actually proven, so ask yourself who is the delusional one?

    • Z

      Stop talking out your ass. It was green and produced a sonic boom. There is scientific evidence to back up those claims. What evidence do you have to back up your asanine claims. Nothing, so go sit down.

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