Meteor streaks across metro sky

(WOWT)
Published: Jul. 9, 2018 at 5:29 PM CDT
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Many witnessed a meteor blaze across the sky over the metro on Sunday night.

Many people thought the object was a drone, or a U.F.O. or fireworks.

However, the American Meteor Society confirmed it was a fireball, noticed from Nebraska to Ohio and all the states in between.

"8:30 p.m. to 8:45 p.m. when it happened," said Chelsea Benish.

She didn't believe her eyes.

"I'm not just some crazy woman calling you guys about a firework," said Benish.

Her daughter, Makenzie, spotted it too.

"It was flying really slow, but just like and red and blue rock with blue flames flying off of it," described Makenzie.

Hundreds of people in nine states saw the same thing Sunday evening. Most of the meteor sightings were in Iowa and Illinois, but these two saw it from Northwest Omaha.

"You could see the flames going on it. It was awesome," said Chelsea.

Experts said every meteor is different.

"The unique thing is the color and brightness, because we gain about a ton of space dust every day. There are shooting stars happening all the time," said Krista Testin, who works at the University of Nebraska Omaha Planetarium.

Testin estimates last night's fireball meteor was probably traveling 15,000 miles per hour.

"You have to have them actually larger than a golf ball to actually survive the crash through the atmosphere. If they start that way, they probably end up the size of a pea," explained Testin.

If anything is left when a meteor reaches the ground, those are collectors items.

"It was just gliding and going so slow. I couldn't stop looking at it because it was so amazing. It was beautiful," said Chelsea.

Sometimes meteors are so large they don't burn up in the atmosphere. In 2013, a large meteorite exploded above Russia.

Injuries from the space rocks are rare. One researcher puts the odds of dying from one at one in 1.6 million. Better odds than winning the Powerball.