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Meteor Spotted Yesterday Over Midwestern United States

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the now-look-for-meteorites dept.

Earth 163

the1337g33k writes "The National Weather Service is reporting that a fireball that many people witnessed last night is a meteor that entered the atmosphere last night around 10:10 pm Central Time. This meteor was spotted by many in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Illinois."

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Calm down, fanboys (5, Funny)

Antidamage (1506489) | more than 4 years ago | (#31865312)

It wasn't an Autobot.

Re:Calm down, fanboys (2, Insightful)

athe!st (1782368) | more than 4 years ago | (#31865388)

Then there is only one other possibilty!

Re:Calm down, fanboys (2, Funny)

pushing-robot (1037830) | more than 4 years ago | (#31865418)

Please tell me it doesn't involve Bruce Willis.

Re:Calm down, fanboys (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31867340)

Think not of Bruce Willis, but rather Tom Cruise (Gene Barry?)

Re:Calm down, fanboys (3, Funny)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 4 years ago | (#31865838)

Gobots [wikipedia.org] ?

Re:Calm down, fanboys (1)

Prof.Phreak (584152) | more than 4 years ago | (#31867648)

...it's the chevy nova...lighting up the night sky...

---Fry

I thought (2, Funny)

michaelhood (667393) | more than 4 years ago | (#31865326)

this was just GameStation coming to claim their recently acquired souls [slashdot.org] ..

I was hoping for Nephilim. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31866224)

I hear their giant red-headed wives are hot, and can really throw a spitball.

I hope Jesus Christ throws another one and hits target this time.

Re:I thought (1)

LongearedBat (1665481) | more than 4 years ago | (#31867598)

The going rate for a soul: £5 GBP

Large Meteor Yesterday Over Midwestern US... (1)

pushing-robot (1037830) | more than 4 years ago | (#31865364)

...Thousands of people caught at awkward moments now traumatized for life.

Re:Large Meteor Yesterday Over Midwestern US... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31865488)

Like?

Re:Large Meteor Yesterday Over Midwestern US... (1)

WindowlessView (703773) | more than 4 years ago | (#31865664)

If he's hinting at what I think...no one on slashdot.

Re:Large Meteor Yesterday Over Midwestern US... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31866272)

If he's hinting at what I think...no one on slashdot.

You're probably right. Anybody who noticed it was probably burning the midnight oil doing something else other than that... Yeah, that's it.

Re:Large Meteor Yesterday Over Midwestern US... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31866328)

...burning the midnight oil doing something else other than that... Yeah, that's it.

What, filing their taxes late? I don't get it...

Could Be Worth Some Money (5, Interesting)

BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) | more than 4 years ago | (#31865368)

Just a hint to any slashdotters in that area, a few of my friends a couple years back watched a small meteor impact up near Sonora Pass in California. It was close by so they took a weekend and went camping up on the pass. They wandered about relatively aimlessly looking for any rocks that seemed odd or out of place. When they found a suspect, they used some magnets they had brought to see if it was ferrous. Eventually, they found one small chunk of rock (think size of your hand) that the magnet stuck to out of sheer luck. They brought it back, had it evaluated by someone (can't recall who, but someone at a nearby university), and ended up selling it for just over $1000 since it was, legitimately, a small chunk of the meteor. If any dotters have a taste for adventure and have a weekend to kill near the area that this impacted, you should go out and see what you can find. It might pay off.

Re:Could Be Worth Some Money (4, Funny)

AnonymousClown (1788472) | more than 4 years ago | (#31865568)

Anyone else hear the Indiana Jones Theme after reading the parent?

Re:Could Be Worth Some Money (2, Funny)

lemur3 (997863) | more than 4 years ago | (#31866734)

no no no... I heard the Star Wars theme........... or maybe it was the theme from Superman........

Re:Could Be Worth Some Money (1)

robot256 (1635039) | more than 4 years ago | (#31867170)

no, but i did after reading your post. and it made sense, too.

Re:Could Be Worth Some Money (2, Informative)

jd (1658) | more than 4 years ago | (#31865576)

According to "Meteorite Men", the Geek version of Home Shopping Network, meteorite fragments are worth $20/gram as a basic value. If you get a big piece that has shape to it, you could expect more. Multiple fragments that fit together (where it fragmented in the atmosphere, not from a hammer) would also logically fetch more, as would rare types.

Re:Could Be Worth Some Money (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31865580)

Why would you sell something like that?

It's a once in a lifetime find (potentially) and i'd want to keep it on my shelf somewhere. It'd be a great coffee table piece.

Re:Could Be Worth Some Money (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31866156)

It'd be a great coffee table piece.

You are just against science.

Re:Could Be Worth Some Money (1)

yotto (590067) | more than 4 years ago | (#31866158)

Other than the cash (Who wouldn't want the cash?) there's that whole pesky contributing to science thing.

I'd take a billion pictures of it and then sell it to the highest bidder.

Re:Could Be Worth Some Money (3, Informative)

Khyber (864651) | more than 4 years ago | (#31866900)

"It's a once in a lifetime find (potentially)"

Go out to the Lucerne dry lake bed, or any desert spot in southern California, and with a good pair of binocs you can pretty much just spot them sitting out in the open.

Re:Could Be Worth Some Money (3, Informative)

phizix (1143711) | more than 4 years ago | (#31865648)

Part of the meteor trail was captured here [noaa.gov] by NWS weather radar. The end of this trail might be a good place to start.

Re:Could Be Worth Some Money (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 4 years ago | (#31865854)

Damn, and I just sold my magnets collection on eBay!

Re:Could Be Worth Some Money (2, Interesting)

JWSmythe (446288) | more than 4 years ago | (#31865874)

    There was a good show on this, I believe on the Discovery Channel. There's an art (and science) to searching debris fields. They had assembled a large loop to be a metal detector attached to a PVC pipe frame that they dragged behind their truck. If you know the direction it came in, and a likely impact site, you can start hunting. You have an advantage that you know at least one part of the debris field. I'd guess that area is mountainous, so a tow behind metal detector is probably out, but you and a few friends doing a grid search with metal detectors may be able to find something useful. If it's been a few years (like more than 3), since you know the location of one piece, you may be able to spot impact craters with Google Maps.

    You got $1k for a chunk the size of your hand. What if you collected a truck full of them? I'd offer to play, but I'm a couple thousand miles beyond coming out to search.

Re:Could Be Worth Some Money (3, Interesting)

dachopigu (1791120) | more than 4 years ago | (#31866152)

Was there a blob inside?

Re:Could Be Worth Some Money (5, Funny)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | more than 4 years ago | (#31866178)

If you happen to find any glowing green crystals please do not sell them to an evil looking bald guy, however lucrative the offer may be.

Re:Could Be Worth Some Money (1)

TimSSG (1068536) | more than 4 years ago | (#31866942)

Project 39 agrees.

Re:Could Be Worth Some Money (1)

cyphercell (843398) | more than 4 years ago | (#31867002)

Oh Clark, what are you worried about?

Re:Could Be Worth Some Money (3, Insightful)

martas (1439879) | more than 4 years ago | (#31867284)

how is this "insightful"??? funny yes, but who the hell would... AAH! that's it, i'm declaring myself insane...

Re: (5, Funny)

Lex.Luthor99 (1791162) | more than 4 years ago | (#31867286)

Mod Parent Down

Wrong bad guy? (1)

Albinoman (584294) | more than 4 years ago | (#31867488)

Blame Kane and build more harvesters.

Re:Could Be Worth Some Money (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 4 years ago | (#31867294)

If you happen to find any glowing green crystals please do not sell them to an evil looking bald guy, however lucrative the offer may be.

Too late! However, the lively gentlemen gave me a dozen copies of Windows 7 and a really handsome chair.

Re:Could Be Worth Some Money (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31867468)

Oh Jordy youve gone an done it now...

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0083767/ [imdb.com]

Re:Could Be Worth Some Money (1)

a_nonamiss (743253) | more than 4 years ago | (#31867830)

Meteor shit!

Oh, Jordy Verrill, you lunkhead!

Re:Could Be Worth Some Money (5, Informative)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 4 years ago | (#31866226)

If any dotters have a taste for adventure and have a weekend to kill near the area that this impacted, you should go out and see what you can find. It might pay off.

FYI - Before you go wandering around the hillsides looking for rocks, keep in mind that anything you find properly belongs to the landowner.

Proper rock hunters spend a lot of effort to get all the proper permissions for their searches.

Re:Could Be Worth Some Money (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31867552)

If any dotters have a taste for adventure and have a weekend to kill near the area that this impacted, you should go out and see what you can find. It might pay off.

FYI - Before you go wandering around the hillsides looking for rocks, keep in mind that anything you find properly belongs to the landowner.

Proper rock hunters spend a lot of effort to get all the proper permissions for their searches.

Does this hold true for all land, or just private property? If this were a public park, would it be permissible?

Re:Could Be Worth Some Money (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31868260)

DUDE- It came from space? Because it landed on someone elses property it becomes theres? I can understand you are trespassing MAYBE. Depending on where you are though the law doesn't necessarily mean you can't cross another land though. If they don't have fences or signs.

Re:Could Be Worth Some Money (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31866240)

Over on reddit: http://www.reddit.com/r/science/comments/bracp/video_of_huge_fireballmeteor_above_the_midwest/

"it landed a couple of miles from me in mankato MN! took out a part of a trailer home. here's some pictures a friend of mine took.

http://imgur.com/IpUyc.jpg

http://imgur.com/dVUNH.jpg

http://imgur.com/gTc1f.jpg"

Re:Could Be Worth Some Money (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31866562)

incredible pictures! not only are they well lit and in focus, but they clearly show the carnage left behind by this meteor! has your friend considered photo journalism?

Re:Could Be Worth Some Money (1)

zygotic mitosis (833691) | more than 4 years ago | (#31867376)

My mom, between Waterville and Faribault, saw a piece falling and called me. Said it was coming down, not across. Pretty cool. I don't think she's up for hunting it down, though.

Re:Could Be Worth Some Money (1)

Rehnberg (1618505) | more than 4 years ago | (#31866748)

Senior camping trip!!!

Re:Could Be Worth Some Money (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 4 years ago | (#31867304)

and ended up selling it for just over $1000 since it was, legitimately, a small chunk of the meteor.

and all I got was a T-shirt with a burnt hole.
   

It's an IFO! (1)

lloy0076 (624338) | more than 4 years ago | (#31865426)

An Identified Flying Object...FLEE!

15 minutes or 15 seconds? (3, Interesting)

Torrance (1599681) | more than 4 years ago | (#31865444)

The CNN article states that the fireball was visible for about 15 minutes. That seems awfully long for a meteor.

Re:15 minutes or 15 seconds? (1)

JWSmythe (446288) | more than 4 years ago | (#31865978)

    I just saw the video on TV a couple hours ago. I was joking that it wasn't a meteorite. There are distinct flashes that were its deceleration thrusters firing. :) I love starting conspiracy theories. :)

    For what I saw of it, CNN probably screwed up when they said 15 minutes. Otherwise, it would have spun half way around the world on its entry.

Re:15 minutes or 15 seconds? (2, Informative)

rm999 (775449) | more than 4 years ago | (#31865990)

Apparently 15 minutes: http://www.allvoices.com/contributed-news/5614609-meteor-stands-still-for-15-minutes-in-iowa-pictures [allvoices.com]

People of Iowa and neighboring cities were surprised by a meteor shower on Wednesday night. The fireball resembling meteor is captured in a picture by an Iowa resident - that is believed to be a part of the meteor shower. This meteor wasn't like a flash - it appeared at 10 p.m. and stayed there for good 15 minutes!

According to the National Weather Service, the meteor was moving from west to east and before it reached the horizon, it broke up into smaller pieces and was lost from sight. Iowa was not the only place where this meteor was seen, but Wisconsin, Ohio, Missouri and Indiana also witnessed the fireball. It is still not confirmed by experts what caused the meteor fireball to stay in the sky like that or whether it would have hit the ground or not. It was definitely an exciting site in Iowa.

Re:15 minutes or 15 seconds? (3, Informative)

MartinSchou (1360093) | more than 4 years ago | (#31867030)

15 minutes is a looooong time. For how long would you be able to make out a jet air-liner?

Since the meteor was making multiple sonic booms (realistically that's really bits breaking off and making their own booms), we're looking at a minimum of mach 1. That means it'll cover an absolute minimum distance of 306 km from the time it was first seen as standing still until it disappeared. Now, obviously the object needs to be at a fair distance already, for that to be the case. It can't start overhead, as that will mean it's moving.

And how far can you really see?

Also, 306 km is a HUGE distance. The smallest detail we can make out are about 1 arc minute. At 306 km that is 89 meters. Granted, it's glowing/burning, so that should help, but how much? 10 fold? Would you be able to make out a 9 meter fireball at 300 km?

And I'm rather curious to know, just how far a meteor would actually travel during those 15 minutes.

Re:15 minutes or 15 seconds? (1)

jonadab (583620) | more than 4 years ago | (#31867232)

> Granted, it's glowing/burning, so that should help, but how much? 10 fold?

Depends.

If it's really dark out (think: rural area at night), you can make out a standard incandescent handheld flashlight (not in detail, but you can see that there's a light there) from a couple of miles away.

The absolute brightness of the object definitely matters. Betelgeuse for instance appears MUCH brighter than Proxima Centauri, despite being some 160 times as far away.

I don't know exactly how much light a burning chunk of rock emits during atmospheric entry (probably depends somewhat on the composition of the rock), but I'm pretty sure it's a lot more than a handheld flashlight.

Re:15 minutes or 15 seconds? (1)

MartinSchou (1360093) | more than 4 years ago | (#31867900)

Yes, that is sort of my point. I'm extremely sceptical that it is possible to see any meteor for 15 minutes, unless it has landed and you're staring at it.

It's entry speed is a minimum of 11 km/s. Obviously it will slow down, but what is the longest possible route it can take through the atmosphere? I.e. we know the height of the atmosphere that matters (as far as I remember, they don't start burning until they're below 90 km).

And even if completely unrealistic, we'd also need it to pretty much skim the surface (i.e. 0 km) for it to have the longest trail.

Essentially this gives us a triangle with a opposite of 6,371 km, hypotenuse of 6,461 km. This gives us an adjacent of sqrt(6,461^2 - 6,371^2) = 1,074 km.

Now, this is the longest possible distance it can travel through the atmosphere from straight overhead until it leaves the atmosphere. A realistic height is say ... 25 km. Now we're looking at sqrt(6,461^2 - 6,396^2) = 914 km.

Again, the lower limit of speed is way above Mach 1. It won't be burning at Mach 1. It's not even burning at Mach 3, as the SR71 doesn't do that, at at Mach 3 you're covering 918 km in 15 minutes, which is longer than the distance traveled. Granted, I haven't included the added distance from being pulled into a temporary orbit, because ... well, I haven't a clue how to. And this is an overhead to atmospheric exit distance, not a path that would leave an observer to believe that it isn't moving. To cover that distance, you'd need to at a minimum be pulled into low earth orbit, which requires a speed of 7.7 km/s, and at that speed we're covering the unrealistic 1,074 km in 139 seconds. And since we don't have any kind of engine on the meteor, it'd have to end up at that speed, making the average speed even higher and the time in atmosphere even shorter.

This is why I'm very sceptical about the claim, that you could see a non-moving meteor for 15 minutes. It's quite simply going to be burned up, out of the atmosphere or in the ground after 15 minutes.

Re:15 minutes or 15 seconds? (1)

MartinSchou (1360093) | more than 4 years ago | (#31868140)

Another thing ... where is the substantiating claims in that article? It's just some guy claiming it.

There are no links to any other reports, no pictures to substantiate the claim, nothing.

In other news, people in Iowa have seen purple flying pigs carrying off an SUV.

Am I the only one... (1)

cobryce (594622) | more than 4 years ago | (#31865446)

...whose first thought was Superman? (Kal-El, Clark Kent, etc) You've got method of transportation, same approximate time, and same approximate location...

Great video from Milwaukee (4, Informative)

andytrevino (943397) | more than 4 years ago | (#31865456)

Fox11 News in Milwaukee has a dramatic video [fox11online.com] of the meteor taken looking slightly north of west in downtown Milwaukee, WI.

Any idea where it actually landed? DID it actually land -- or just burn up in the atmosphere?

Re:Great video from Milwaukee (3, Funny)

jd (1658) | more than 4 years ago | (#31865596)

It landed, but was towed away for not having a parking permit.

Re:Great video from Milwaukee (3, Interesting)

phizix (1143711) | more than 4 years ago | (#31865612)

And here [wisc.edu] is another great view of the fireball from Madison.

Re:Great video from Milwaukee (1)

Zzootnik (179922) | more than 4 years ago | (#31865920)

I Saw it pretty clear here in Iowa City out the window to the North... if it was ALSO north of Wisconsin, My guess would by Canada... or the patrol officer didn't know which way North was-

I saw the meteor (5, Informative)

cat_jesus (525334) | more than 4 years ago | (#31865936)

None of the video I've seen comes close to the spectacular sight. There was a huge tail of plasma and it was green, orange white with a hint of blue. It was huge and looked like it was close by.

Re:I saw the meteor (1)

martas (1439879) | more than 4 years ago | (#31867328)

<pedantic>i'm pretty sure that the tail was composed of normal gases and dust, not plasma. i'd think that the heat from the meteor would dissipate too quickly in the atmosphere to for a trail of plasma to be visible.</pedantic>

Re:I saw the meteor (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31867764)

"It was huge and looked like it was close by."

THAT'S WHAT SHE SAID!

Re:Great video from Milwaukee (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31865966)

That's seven meteors in a row following exactly the same trajectory. What are the chances? Astronomical!

Re:Great video from Milwaukee (1)

Xachariah (995669) | more than 4 years ago | (#31866534)

According to news sources it landed in Smallville, Kansas.

Re:Great video from Milwaukee (2, Funny)

g00set (559637) | more than 4 years ago | (#31866586)

The video clearly gives "balanced coverage" (poke at the advertisement) of the meteor event. Not sure how to describe the looping ;)

Re:Great video from Milwaukee (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31867832)

Fox11 News in Milwaukee has a dramatic video [fox11online.com] of the meteor taken looking slightly north of west in downtown Milwaukee, WI.

Any idea where it actually landed? DID it actually land -- or just burn up in the atmosphere?

You missed the Fox News headline, "Obama's budget soars over the midwest, thousand watch in horror".

REFLEX Save DC 22. (1)

MRe_nl (306212) | more than 4 years ago | (#31865472)

"That's no fireball!"

Re:REFLEX Save DC 22. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31866746)

It's a black guy! [io9.com]

Oblig. (1)

russlar (1122455) | more than 4 years ago | (#31865544)

"This isn't a meteor, it's what we call a 'Boeing Bomb'. You see this peanut?"

Re:Oblig. (1)

socz (1057222) | more than 4 years ago | (#31865662)

Awww and I ate off of it!

Planetary defense (2, Interesting)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 4 years ago | (#31865550)

One day we'll be able to predict events like this. You'll see something in the sky, go to a website, or pull up an app on your smart phone, and it'll have a designation based on when it was first detected and the flight path that object took to hit the atmosphere. Maybe the website will look something like this [nasa.gov] , but hopefully not ;) Tracking small rocks like this might seem like a waste of time, until we predict one that is going to hit a major populated area - lives could be saved. This would be a side-benefit of the real purpose of the program - detecting planet killer sized hazards and preparing for the day when we need to divert one. The economic benefits of capturing asteroids in orbit and utilizing the materials should also be considerable.

Re:Planetary defense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31865638)

Yeah, and if we can land a shuttle on it and have it hit a big trampoline we can sling shot to Mars and save all that fuel!

Re:Planetary defense (2, Informative)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 4 years ago | (#31866028)

There's some tether concepts for trading delta-v with asteroids that could both be used to divert them or to provide slingshot maneuvers.. but more likely is to use the asteroid as fuel - most asteroids are believed to be between 50 and 80% water by mass.

Re:Planetary defense (1)

Rehnberg (1618505) | more than 4 years ago | (#31866738)

The economic benefits of capturing asteroids in orbit and utilizing the materials should also be considerable.

Provided, of course, that someone doesn't mess up the calculation and it hits us...

Re:Planetary defense (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 4 years ago | (#31866804)

Anything under a few tons is perfectly safe.. as the article says, objects of this size hit our atmosphere all the time.

Another one spotted last night. (3, Interesting)

TechwoIf (1004763) | more than 4 years ago | (#31865760)

I was on my way home last night very late, around 11pm and saw a meter streak about 1/4 the way across the sky. Normally I see them flash a white streak across the sky and burn up quickly, but this one stayed non-white burning stage for a long time and rather slow across the sky. I lost sight of it near the horizon and wonder if that one hit the ground. My location was south central west Indiana and looking east.

meteor? you mean.... (0, Redundant)

corbettw (214229) | more than 4 years ago | (#31866082)

That's no moon.

Pieces will be found (4, Informative)

mbone (558574) | more than 4 years ago | (#31866184)

I would bet that pieces will be found of the meteor. FIrst, the orbit / path will be well known, with so many multiple videos of it from different locations.

Second, astronomer Mark Hammergren, of the Adler Planetarium in Chicago, predicts that it may have weighed as much as 1000 pounds [nationalgeographic.com] .

"One of the misconceptions about bright meteors is that they're due to very tiny objects," said Hammergren. But "if something is bright enough to light up the sky like daytime and cause sonic booms throughout the entire area, it's big. It was major," he said. "If it was daytime, people would have undoubtedly seen smoke trails."

I think that this is very sound reasoning. Happy hunting to rockhounds in Wisconsin !

Now, why do we never get such multiple confirmations of UFOs ?

Re:Pieces will be found (0)

Fantastic Lad (198284) | more than 4 years ago | (#31866638)

Now, why do we never get such multiple confirmations of UFOs ?

Well, we certainly have multiple-witness sightings. Lots of them, in fact. Hundreds involving pilots, police, military personnel as well as countless regular civilians, but the media is loathe to cover such stories, probably because biased, timid and over-ridden people are working the various editorial desks.

Read Richard M. Dolan if you want to know the actual state of things.

-FL

Lost Child (5, Funny)

Strange Ranger (454494) | more than 4 years ago | (#31866228)

Please Help. My wife and I live in that area. Last night we were out past our usual time and we found a young boy. He was wandering out in the cold all by himself.
We've talked to the appropriate authorities, but we know we need to get the word out as much as possible. The doctors say he's fine, but he hasn't spoken a word yet.
Please take a look at his picture [mylifetime.com] and call your local authorities if you have any information at all. We are desperate to find out who he is.
If nobody can legitimately claim him, we would be so blessed if we could adopt him. For now, Martha and I have taken to calling him Clark. Thanks.

Re:Lost Child (1)

93,000 (150453) | more than 4 years ago | (#31866896)

Bonus points for the linked photo. I was expecting a movie screenshot, etc., but that was just awesome.

Well done.

Is there a Smallville anywhere nearby? (2, Funny)

Oyjord (810904) | more than 4 years ago | (#31866422)

As a Californian, all the Midwest looks alike to me. Is there a Smallville anywhere near the meteor's GZ?

Spy Satellite. Duh! (2, Interesting)

rdmiller3 (29465) | more than 4 years ago | (#31866450)

This doesn't make sense for a "meteor". The atmosphere is less than 200 miles thick, and the chance that a meteorite will skim across that relatively thin layer of atmosphere long enough to be sited along a 700-mile path over multiple states is infinitesimal. Multiply that by the tiny fractional probability that it would have enough mass to burn that long and the odds look impossible.

More likely, this was a massive satellite in near earth orbit. That's really the only reasonable thing which would match the observations.

So, since it's not being reported as a satellite it's probably a secret satellite. We already know that NASA launches classified payloads. It's safe to assume that other countries do too. Stealth technology would be simple, just build it with flat metal sides painted black and power it with a self-contained reactor (and there's your mass).

Re:Spy Satellite. Duh! (4, Informative)

mbone (558574) | more than 4 years ago | (#31866726)

The orbit of this will be found very quickly - probably within 24 hours. That will rule in or out whether it was in Earth orbit.

Note that

- there are orbits for all satellites bigger than a few kilograms, secret or no. It's hard to hide up there and

- there have been number of multi-state [space.com] meteors in the past. This, if a meteor, would not be very unusual.

Re:Spy Satellite. Duh! (2, Funny)

ErikZ (55491) | more than 4 years ago | (#31867766)

The atmosphere is less than 200 miles thick, and the chance that a meteorite will skim across that relatively thin layer of atmosphere long enough to be sited along a 700-mile path over multiple states is infinitesimal.

One might say that the odds were...astronomical.

Home on the Range (0)

MillionthMonkey (240664) | more than 4 years ago | (#31866612)

Oh give me a home
Where the buffalo roam
And the deer and the antelope play
Where seldom is heard
A discouraging word
And the skies are not raining fireballs

why was there no warning? (1)

v1 (525388) | more than 4 years ago | (#31866718)

I thought there were at least a couple groups scanning the skies looking for the next armageddon-variety meteor headed our way? Wouldn't we expect to have seen a big thing like this coming? Granted, probably not enough to be a biosphere-killer, but still would make a mess of a city if it hit, or of possibly several if it hit water and did the tsunami thing.

Wait, what? (1)

Rehnberg (1618505) | more than 4 years ago | (#31866732)

Something remotely interesting happened in the Midwest? That might be a first... Too bad I was stuck studying for APs...

So this says a lot... (-1, Troll)

rinoid (451982) | more than 4 years ago | (#31866750)

The story posted 6 minutes before the one ABOUT A GIANT METEOR FALLING TO EARTH
already has triple the comments. That story is about a women's purported auto-arousal syndrome supposedly induced by the Wii Fit.

So you all have seen more meteors fall to earth than you have women achieving orgasm? Sad, sad...

I can't wait until they find the meteor.

more bullshit. 'sleep well america'. (0, Troll)

unity100 (970058) | more than 4 years ago | (#31867042)

that is the tune they are singing. ok, so it was a meteor that somehow, was able to lit up an entire horizon, but it didnt land anywhere, or caused any damage. and chanced up right over the city. ok. then what the fuck is this in seattle :

http://s959.photobucket.com/albums/ae77/seattleslew2010/20100415_0715P/ [photobucket.com]

the video below was shot 30 minutes before 2008 Sichuan quake in china :

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KKMTSDzU1Z4&feature=player_embedded# [youtube.com] !

sky changing colors before quake in chile :

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vQsDNcm6714&feature=player_embedded [youtube.com]

the first images that have been captured today around seattle may be 'sun pillars' a phenomenon that appears right before a major seismic event.

such various colorful displays are not rare before seismic events. therefore, govt. may be bullshitting you to sleep.

Re:more bullshit. 'sleep well america'. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31867824)

easy on that kool-aid, buddy.

Re:more bullshit. 'sleep well america'. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31867984)

You are fucking stupid. Several close friends of mine as well as coworkers saw it first hand - I heard it first hand. It was not a pillar of light or whatever. It looked like lightning to some, missles to others. Not a pillar by any means. I will awknowledge I have been seeing darker pillars off in the horizon. As cool as it would be that some random abberation of my vision is some large project of humankind, I do not believe we are competant enough to do that.

You would think nerds would know better... (0, Troll)

guytoronto (956941) | more than 4 years ago | (#31867252)

A meteor is the trail of light generated when a meteoroid enters the atmosphere.

A meteor can't enter the atmosphere, as it can't exist until it the meteoroid enters the atmosphere.

A meteorite is a meteoroid that has impacts the ground.

Did NASA know about this? (1)

okmijnuhb (575581) | more than 4 years ago | (#31867332)

Seriously, is this something NASA knows about?
If not, why not?
They should be able to give us a heads up about anything that enters our atmosphere from space so it can be tracked/viewed/enjoyed etc.
I'm sure the science on the shuttles are valuable, but what about stuff that's flying at our planet, and I don't just mean the belt of pollution in earth's orbit consisting of dangerous (to the space station/satellites etc) space trash.
Or is this stuff too fast/small/frequent/random to track?

That there was just one of Larry King's marriages (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 4 years ago | (#31867380)

... lighting up the sky ... Tunguska event, like . . . see tmz.com for details . . .

Related news (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 4 years ago | (#31867448)

They just interrupted the Mercury Theater [wikipedia.org] radio program with further news about the sighting.

I saw it (1)

Myopic (18616) | more than 4 years ago | (#31867536)

I live in Madison. My wife and I saw flashes of light out the window and figured it was distant lightning. Seeing the video now is cool. I definitely saw those bold flashes of light. I wish I'd known what it was, I would have gone for a better look.

ROFL (1)

garompeta (1068578) | more than 4 years ago | (#31867544)

"It was somewhat alarming to me," Thompson said. "I've seen shooting stars, but I've never seen something jetting across the sky with flames shooting off it."

I saw this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31868250)

I was really drunk when I saw this last night. I thought it was someone on campus shooting off a firework, but everyone else thought it was a meteor. I did not believe anyone until I saw it here.

Irrelevant (0, Troll)

The_mad_linguist (1019680) | more than 4 years ago | (#31868270)

Man, this news article is completely irrelevant to my interests. Why doesn't slashdot cover something more interesting, like the Sburb beta release? It should have been sent out a couple of days ago, and there has to be somebody who's got it working by this point.

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