In the earliest hours of Saturday morning, residents of Indiana and several surrounding states were lucky enough to witness an alluring sight: a huge meteor, hurtling through the atmosphere and so spectacularly bright that it lit the night sky.
According to an American Meteor Society (AMS) report by fireball report coordinator Robert Lunsford, the agency received almost 150 individual accounts, many complete with dazzling videos, of the cosmic event, which was visible in a total of eight states around 2 am EST.
“It was so bright and amazing that it made my dog get off the couch to inspect,” detailed one Illinois viewer.
The spectacle has been called a fireball and it is a meteor that’s bigger and brighter than what you usually see. They are not very uncommon but the panorama of Saturday was quite rare.
“Several thousand meteors of fireball magnitude occur in the Earth’s atmosphere each day. The vast majority of these, however, occur over the oceans and uninhabited regions, and a good many are masked by daylight,” read the AMS report. “Additionally, the brighter the fireball, the more rare is the event.”
Though one worried watcher in Ohio reported that “it looked like it was going fast and looked like it would hit Earth, kinda,” the experts were careful to note in their write-up that the lack of any reported booms — or, you know, new craters anywhere — signals that the fireball disintegrated in the atmosphere before it was able to do any damage.
“I’ve never seen anything like what I just saw,” wrote one Hoosier. “It was beautiful, exciting, and prompted me to do quick research and to see who else may have seen it as well.”