With the breaking news of the meteorite that blazed a trail through the Wisconsin sky, people are flocking to online video sites to find footage of the giant fireball that appeared around 10:15-10:30 pm Wednesday night. At first, only eyewitness reports flooded emergency call stations, but gradually photos of the event began to appear online.
Early reports had 27 News Chief Meteorologist Bob Lindmeier saying it was possible a large meteor passed through the area, but adding a disclaimer that it was hard to know exactly what caused the bright light. “Most meteors never reach the ground,” he said. “They typically disintegrate in the atmosphere.”
Later the National Weather Service did confirm that the ‘green fireball with an orange tail’ many described seeing was probably a meteorite, especially after photos were submitted and eventually a video appeared capturing the meteorite in flight over Wisconsin.
According to a statement issued by the National Weather Service, “Several reports of a prolonged sonic boom were received from areas north of Highway 20, along with shaking of homes, trees and various other objects including wind chimes.” The sonic boom was intense enough that many who missed seeing the meteorite itself were terrified and thought a plane had fallen from the sky.
Residents of Wisconsin, northern Illinois, Michigan and Missouri have been seeing plenty of meteorites over the past week due to the Gamma Virginids shower, which is a meteoric display that usually spans from April 5 to April 21, peaking on April 14 and April 15. It was noticed in 1864 by A. S. Herschel, but discovery is attributed to W. Doberck in 1895.
Now a video has surfaced on YouTube with a clear picture of the meteorite traveling rapidly across the screen – the fireball is huge and intensely bright. The Gamma Virginids showers usually only generate about 5 meteorites per hour, and none of them are generally as huge as the Wisconsin sighting.
This is the biggest event in this part of the US since 2003, when a meteorite broke into pieces and rained down destruction on the suburbs 35 miles south of Chicago, Illinois, according to National Geographic. That hailstorm of meteor chunks was also preceded by a fireball markedly similar to the Wisconsin meteor, as can be seen in this YouTube video. In that case many large pieces of meteorite were found; however, searches in Wisconsin for debris have so far been unsuccessful.