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Meteor blazes Midwestern sky; amazes sky gazers

As per the radar images, the meteor is expected to have landed in Wisconsin. The fireball is anticipated to have broken into smaller pieces when it hit the ground. (Photograph courtesy Howard County Sheriff's Department)

In what can be termed as an astronomical phenomenon, which bewildered the people in the region, a large meteor blazed the Midwestern sky Wednesday night.

The meteor, which was seeing moving west to east 10 p.m., was spotted by many residents of Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Missouri.

The object fell somewhere near Wisconsin, causing loud booms, mystifying residents in the region.

Sky gazers awestruck seeing bright green light
Though not everyone could witness this phenomenon, there were some lucky sky gazers who saw a big flash of green light, resembling a fireball, brightening the sky for a brief moment.

A viewer named AStewart611 commented on YouTube that he was outside and looking in the sky when the meteor became visible.

“It was a little red dot with a small white tail traveling slowly then all of a sudden it was huge and green and going super fast. It then like blew up in the sky and the entire area went green and my eyes were so blinded by how bright it was i couldn't see it or anything for a minute. It was the most surreal moment of my life!!!!,” he added.

Many people who spotted the meteor have even taken to a Facebook page, ‘I survived the April 14th meteor explosion,’ and narrated their experience.

For instance, a viewer named Jennifer Williams stated, “I was on my way home in rock island, il and all of a sudden I see this streak of green light trailing something. I knew it couldn't have been a shooting star. I saw it break up a few seconds later....I was shaking it scared me so bad.”

Fragments not yet located
As per the radar images, the meteor is expected to have landed in Wisconsin. The fireball is anticipated to have broken into smaller pieces when it hit the ground.

With the fireball being spotted only a few days before the Lyrid meteor showers, expected on April 21-22, many have speculated if this meteor could be a part of the sprinkling of meteors seen before and after the optimal night.

Though none of its fragments have been located yet, the researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have asked the residents in the area to report in case they find pieces of the meteor.

If the videos of the meteor are anything to go by, the space rock may be 1.8 meters wide and a thousand pounds in weight, according to astronomer Mark Hammergren.

Meteor a part of the meteor shower?
With the fireball being spotted only a few days before the Lyrid meteor showers, expected on April 21-22, many have speculated if this meteor could be a part of the sprinkling of meteors seen before and after the optimal night.

But Hammergren rebuffed the speculations saying that the huge fireball spotted in the Midwestern sky is not a part of the meteor showers. The fact that it has happened just before the Lyrid meteor showers is just a coincidence.

Explaining the reason behind this, he added that the debris that is the result of the meteor showers is very weak, unlike the fragments expected to be located from the meteor spotted on Wednesday night.

The meteor is more likely a space rock from the Earth’s solar system's asteroid belt, and such meteors often hit the Earth, and are distributed all over its surface.

Many of these are not spotted because they hit the remote areas or they occur over the ocean

About meteor showers
The Lyrid meteors, scheduled for April 22, will set the sky ablaze with 10-20 meteors per hour at the peak time. The optimal time is between midnight and dawn on Thursday.

Sometimes, though very rare, the rate even surges to 100 meteors per hour.

The meteors, after hitting the atmosphere at an approximate speed of 29.8 miles per second, give way to luminous trains of dust, which remain in the air for several seconds.