Meteor lights up sky above Chicago area, Midwest

Diane Pathieu Image
Tuesday, February 7, 2017
Meteor streaks across sky over Chicago
Sky watchers across the Chicago area and the Midwest got a glimpse of a meteor early Monday morning.

LISLE, Ill. (WLS) -- While most people were sleeping, some sky watchers across the Chicago area and the Midwest got a glimpse of a meteor early Monday morning.

The reports primarily came from Illinois and Wisconsin but witnesses in Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Iowa, New York, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, Kansas and even Ontario, Canada reported seeing the meteor around 1:30 a.m.

So far, the American Meteor Society has received more than 200 reports of the meteor all across the country.

Kelly Tournis of Highland, Indiana realized what her home security footage captured early Monday.

"I took a look at the north camera saw the meteor across right through the sky it was pretty amazing," she said.

Thomas Pozarski works security for a company in Plover, Wisconsin, near Stevens Point. He was working a night shift, not his usual shift, when he spotted the green glow in the sky.

"Our overnight shift is pretty quiet, so, I wasn't doing a lot. I saw the big flash, I looked out the window and there is was," Pozarski said.

Video from the east camera on the roof of the Atmospheric, Oceanic and Space Sciences Building on the University of Wisconsin campus clearly shows the meteor glowing in the night sky.

The fireball was spotted on several dashcams from area police departments as well, including in Lisle.

One officer spotted the meteor while out on patrol.

"Our officer was actually patrolling a bunch of the neighborhoods, when he came up on the street he actually was in perfect position to catch it as he put in car in park, all of a sudden the Meteor came over from the rear of the vehicle to the front and he caught that on his dash cam video," said Lisle Deputy Police Chief Ron Wilke.

It's believed the meteor traveled from the southwest to the northeast and eventually landed in Lake Michigan. According to astronomer Michelle Nichols at the Adler Planetarium, the meter was likely the size of a golf cart.

"The chunk that made that fireball we think was maybe about the size of one or two meters across, maybe a little bigger, probably weighed many tons, possibly tens of tons, so this is a rather large thing, and then also, we classify them in terms of what they're made of. This one, we think, was made mostly of stone," Nichols said.

The last time a fireball happened like this in our area was back in 2003 when a chunk of a meteor crashed through the roof of a house in Park Forest. These kind of large meteors really are not that uncommon, however, they are very hard to spot because sometimes they happen over the open ocean or during the day.