Fireball explodes over Columbus, Ohio – 2nd Midwestern light show in 2 days


Video of the fireball and its lingering trail over Ohio Friday night Sept. 27 caught on NASA’s All-Sky Cameras operated by Bill Cooke

Last night around 11:30 p.m EDT., sky watchers living in at least 14 states were treated to one of the most spectacular fireballs ever. It was the second major Midwestern fireball in two days. The first lit up skies across Missouri, Wisconsin, Kentucky and Ohio Thursday morning around 7:05 a.m. CDT.


Thursday early morning fireball across the Midwest

Within hours, the Thursday fireball quickly became the American Meteor Society’s 2nd most reported of all time with over 730 reports. Friday night’s fireball will likely overtake that with 450 reports reviewed and more than 400 pending.

Last night’s meteor blazed a trail almost directly over the city of Columbus, Ohio speeding through the upper atmosphere from east to west at more than 114,000 mph (227,000 km/hr). Observers describe a brilliant blue ball and yellow-orange tail; some heard sonic booms and concussions.

Ground track of Friday night’s fireball over Ohio. Credit: Bill Cooke, NASA

Based on its brightness, Bill Cooke of NASA’s Meteoroid Environment Office estimates the meteoroid’s size at around 3 feet (1-meter) across. I’m crossing my fingers meteorites might eventually be found on the ground.

More on the fireballs HERE and HERE.


Report on a hand-sized meteorite that fell in Brazil on Monday

Far from Ohio, an actual meteorite landed with a loud noise in a homeowner’s front yard in Vicencia, Pernambuco, Brazil on Monday Sept. 23. The TV video footage shows the new arrival. To read the story in the garbled language of your choice (use Google Translate) and view much clearer photos, click HERE.

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About astrobob

My name is Bob King and I work at the Duluth News Tribune in Duluth, Minn. as a photographer and photo editor. I'm also an amateur astronomer and have been keen on the sky since age 11. My modest credentials include membership in the American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO) where I'm a regular contributor, International Meteorite Collectors Assn. and Arrowhead Astronomical Society. I also teach community education astronomy classes at our local planetarium.

19 thoughts on “Fireball explodes over Columbus, Ohio – 2nd Midwestern light show in 2 days

  1. Did u see all the red and orange balls going across the sky saturday Saturday night about 10 pm I counted 12 they were huge ove springfield ohio lasted about 10 minutesfrom south to north west

  2. There were about 50 people watching it with us and my daughter seen if from urbana there was no sound and few changed from red and orange to a white.they just kept coming so weird

  3. I woke up to late to see the ISS this morning at 6:45. Tomorrow my Astronomy plan is simple. I just want to soak up the warm sunlight, this time of year that still exists. I hope that it is clear.

    • u should have seen the ISS earlier, in full darkness. i saw it about 4:40 or so and under binoculars, INCREDIBLE! so close, a dim body traveling nearby, CYGNUS prior to docking. SOOOO close. don’t think i have ever seen anything quite like that. by their passage after 6AM there was only one light visible in binocluars, as perhaps docking was beginning or maybe the twilight made dim CYGNUS impossible to view.

        • i’m really hoping some of those become bino-visible soon, and even better if at least ISON gets naked-eye visible. Enke might be around 8 at the end of the month, possibly?

          • Sean,
            I think there’s a very good chance Encke will be mag. 8 by the end of Oct. Just hang in there with ISON – it should get bright enough to see with the naked eye by early-mid November.

  4. As Nov.9 approaches with the line up of comets and planets, this is subject to change but from what has been observed to what will be then, the best predictions I have made are Encke and ISON around magnitude 5.5 and Lovejoy around 6.

  5. The Harvard site has it brightening to 9 which could make 4 comets in November visible in large binoculars as this one is better found in the evening. But it is running dimmer than what they had for an ephemeris,so a magnitude of 10 will probably stop it from brightening any more.

  6. While driving in central Nebraska on Thanksgiving nite approx. 10:00 PM I saw a large meteor type trail followed by a large explosion (yellow & green). Did anybody see it?

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