The National Weather Service (NWS) of the United States has confirmed that the flash of light and loud boom that shook homes in Detroit and surrounding areas of Michigan on Tuesday, January 16, was caused by a meteoroid explosion. At around 8.10 pm local time, residents witnessed an extremely bright light illuminating the sky and heard a boom sound.
Several people captured the meteor explosion or the bright light illuminating the sky on their camera and later shared on social media. The NWS said they have received several reports on the sighting.
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"After reviewing several observational datasets, the NWS can confirm the flash and boom was NOT thunder or lightning, but instead a likely meteor. We continue to monitor feeds from astronomical agencies for official confirmation of a meteor. #miwx," NWS tweeted.
The United States Geological Survey (USGS) confirmed the meteor explosion and said an earthquake of magnitude 2.0 was recorded at the same time when the meteor flashed through the sky in Michigan.
The latest meteor sighting has been categorised as a classic bolide, which means an extremely large meteor as bright as the full moon.
"If you have ever seen a meteor shower or you see a shooting star, that's a small little meteor," Bob Trembly, an expert with the Warren Astronomical Society, told FOX 2. "Something a little larger is called a fireball and that can go across the sky and there can be some fragmentation."
Trembly said this explosion was different because of the way it blew up at the end and that makes it a bolide.
"That is a fireball that has a bright flash and it explodes," he said. "What you are seeing there is when a meteor hits the atmosphere it causes the air to ionize and turns it into plasma and that is the bright light you see from a meteor. Well if they are large enough they get a little deeper into the atmosphere and they can explode like you saw. And this typically happens dozens of miles up into the atmosphere."
The meteor exploded in a fireball and this celestial phenomenon was witnessed in several places in Ohio and Michigan and Ontario in Canada. The bolide meteor was associated with the Xi Ursae Majorids meteor shower, which is at its peak on January 16 and January 17.
Check out the photos and videos of the meteor explosion below:
— Tom Hall ☘ (@TomHall) January 17, 2018
— RodneyRhodes (@rodneyrhodes) January 17, 2018
— Tim (@tflyer85) January 17, 2018
— Damian Olivera Bergallo (@damian_rodrigo) January 17, 2018
— Andrea (@cozy2963) January 17, 2018
— Bailey J (@BayLovesStitch) January 17, 2018
— Marty Medina (@MartyMedina17) January 17, 2018