Many residents across the Midwest were treated with a brilliant spectacle very early in the morning on February 6th, 2017. A fireball shot across the skies in proximity to Lake Michigan. Luckily, several surveillance cameras across Illinois and Wisconsin were able to capture the sight for those of us who didn’t see it first-hand.

What Is a Fireball?

It is important to understand what these fiery objects are before we can fully appreciate them. Fireballs are just meteor that are encountering the Earth’s atmosphere. The meteor begins to ignite and the object is surrounded by fire as this occurs. Fireball events actually happen quite often. According to NASA, space-born objects larger than one meter in diameter collide with the Earth’s atmosphere about 40 times per year. However, very rarely do they survive the journey to the surface.

NASA has a growing network set up solely to detect fireballs called the All Sky Fireball Network. Fifteen black and white cameras have been established so far that monitor the entire sky. To learn more and see the captures for yourself, go to http://fireballs.ndc.nasa.gov/.

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