Southeastern Michigan got a shocking surprise last Tuesday evening. At around 8:10pm, a meteor hit the skies near Detroit and exploded in a brief, brilliant burst of light. Though its arrival was unexpected, our modern age of having cameras on everything means that you can also enjoy this shining moment. Neat!
And this arrival was about more than a light show, too. The meteor breaking into the atmosphere caused a giant boom, something like an enormous thunderclap, that followed a couple minutes later. And finally, there was even an earthquake. Though it only measured 2.0 on the Richter scale (which is very minor), that's still pretty amazing!
I travelled a long way to be with you tonight
In the moment, people could only guess as to what they were seeing. Fortunately, NASA soon confirmed that it was indeed a meteor, or shooting star. They estimate that was only a one or two metres (1 to 2 yards) wide, though it weighed about a ton (2,200 lbs.). It likely travelled between 64,000 and 80,000 km (40,000 to 50,000 mi.) to reach us, too.
When you think about it that way, that's a big journey and a lot of fireworks for something that is about as wide as an adult human is tall. But that's what happens when a speeding space rock collides with a blanket of gas!
Visible a long way off
The next question is: Did any of it make it to the surface? It's (thankfully) not uncommon for meteors to burn up completely upon entry into our atmosphere. But authorities are still searching for pieces of the meteor that landed on our planet's surface. Who wouldn't want some souvenirs to remember the event by.
Of course, even without a meteorite memento, video means that many people will be able to recall what happened on Tuesday, January 16, 2018. And not just people from Michigan. It was also seen by people in nearby Windsor, Ontario...
...as well as Indiana.
Caught by security camera in Woodburn Indiana around 8:17 pm pic.twitter.com/Kbe54p9JUk
— Marty Medina (@MartyMedina17) January 17, 2018
From any angle or location, it never stops being amazing!