The Lisle, Ill., police officer who recorded the video above didn’t have his dashboard camera running before the event, but when he noticed the meteor, he “did a double-take” and then immediately turned it on, he told NBC Chicago. Lisle is a suburb about 20 miles west of Chicago.
A National Weather Service meteorologist noticed the radar in Green Bay may have picked up the meteor. The ring in this image is just clouds, but there’s an echo north of Sheboygan, Wis., that looks suspiciously like a giant ball of space rocks burning up over Lake Michigan. Perhaps.
A meteor is what zips through the sky, and meteorites are the rocks that reach the ground when it’s all over. Scientists can tell if a meteor produced meteorites based on the flash — the brighter the explosion, the larger the meteor must have been. Larger meteors have a better chance of staying somewhat intact until they reach the ground.
A fireball is a bright meteor, defined by the American Meteor Society. It appears possible that this fireball was technically a bolide, given the reports of a “flash” or “explosion.” A bolide is a very intense, bright fireball, that explodes in a flash of light as it ends.
The society says several thousand meteors of fireball-magnitude occur each day, though the vast majority of them appear over unpopulated areas.