ITN

Was This Midwest Fireball A Meteor Or Space Debris?

The fireball was reported by some 700 people in Iowa, Illinois, Missouri and Nebraska.

By Christina Hartman | December 29, 2013

If you live in the Midwest — did you happen to catch this?

Check it out — this fireball was reported by some 700 people in Iowa, Illinois, Missouri and Nebraska. It happened on Thursday night, and the National Weather Service is now looking into what it could have been. (Via ITN)

​But the favored theory of observers appears to be that the fireball was a meteor. (Via The Weather Channel)

"It was caught on camera and believed to be a meteor crashing through the earth's atmosphere." (Via WXYZ)

"They believe it was a meteor crashing through the earth's atmosphere." (Via WRTV)

The Des Moines Register talked to a physics and astronomy professor who told the outlet "this time of December is not a 'prominent meteor shower time' but that 'sporadic meteors' happen all the time."

Then again, Des Moines' WHO-TV casts doubt on that, saying one as big and bright as this can be rare. The outlet suggests the light show could have been little more than space debris. 

The whole thing only lasted a few seconds — and what makes the footage extra interesting is the National Weather Service says the planet Venus may be visible in it as well. (Via WJW-TV)

It's possible we'll never know what the fireball really was. The National Weather Service is looking into reports, but the agency doesn't think it was a weather event and therefore doesn't expect to issue an official report. 

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