Giant fireball shoots across the sky

Posted By: The Ski Channel on April 15, 2010 7:25 am

OK, OK, this doesn’t have to do with skiing, per say…but we’re pretty obsessed with all things astronomical here at The Ski Channel. Whenever there’s a meteor shower, or any cool stuff happening in the sky, it gives us another excuse to go camp out in the mountains for a while. Clearly we love everything mountain, so cool space stuff just gives us another reason to get up there and catch a better view. Man, we wish we could have seen this!

Last night, people throughout Wisconsin, Indiana, Illinois and Missouri could see a giant fireball shoot through the sky! It was visible for about 15 minutes starting at 10PM last night. What could have caused such awesomeness? Officials aren’t positive, but they’re assuming it’s from the Gamma Virginids meteor shower that occurs from April 4th-21st. The shower peaked yesterday and will continue to peak today. The National Weather Service said “the fireball was seen over the northern sky, moving from west to east. Well before it reached the horizon, it broke up into smaller pieces and was lost from sight. 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. A large meteorite could have caused the brilliant fireball that has been reported”.

NASA continued the explanation: “Air friction heats the meteoroid so that it glows and creates a shining trail of gases and melted meteoroid particles,” it said. “People sometimes call the brightest meteors fireballs.”