Was it … Superman? No, but the super bright light in the sky certainly freaked people out.
Residents of southeast Michigan reported a white ball of light paired with a loud boom on Tuesday night, capturing some seriously impressive footage of the event around 8:15 p.m. ET.
The National Weather Service in Detroit, although yet to issue an official statement, said the flash was “not thunder or lightning, but instead a likely meteor.”
NASA defines a meteor as “a space rock that becomes so hot it glows when it passes into Earth’s atmosphere,” which definitely fits the bill with the videos people uploaded to social media.
According to the United States Geological Survey, the meteor caused the equivalent of a magnitude 2.0 earthquake on the ground.
Mike Austin captured the event on his dashcam on the I-75 near Bloomfield Hills.
Kevin McCombs captured the bright light in a video shared by Local 4 News reporter Jason Colthorp.
Morenci local David Meckley caught the flash on security cameras.
More folks hit Twitter with multiple videos of the event.
Non-profit scientific organization The American Meteor Society (AMS), which allows people to report meteors and the like, saw its server overloaded after the event.
The AMS received 355 reports of the fireball over seven states.
“This was a very slow moving meteor – speed of about 28,000 miles per hour (45,000km/hour),” the AMS wrote in a re-cap of the event.
“This fact, combined with the brightness of the meteor (which suggests a fairly big space rock), shows that the object penetrated deep into the atmosphere before it broke apart (which produced the sounds heard by at least 77 observers). It is likely that there are meteorites on the ground near this region.”
NASA’s SPoRT, a project that shares research with the operational weather community, tweeted data captured by its lightning mapper at the time of the flash.
Update: This story was updated with more information about the fireball event.
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