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Daylight meteor spotted streaking across central US

10 July 2018

Skywatchers in 10 states in the Midwestern United States got a treat early on Sunday evening as a fireball careened through the atmosphere and produced a fiery trail. A fireball or bright meteor was seen streaking across the southern sky.

Since Sunday, more than 600 reports about the fireball have been filed with the American Meteor Society from nine different states.

One such skywatcher was photographer and missouriskies.org owner Dan Bush, who happened to have not one, but two unmanned video cameras aimed at the horizon.

The object is spotted at a great distance, appearing relatively small from the vantage point of land.

The meteor likely entered the atmosphere at a flawless angle, allowing it to be easily spotted by people in the area, said Bill Cooke of NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office, according to the Illinois Daily Herald. Of those, the majority were centered in Iowa and IL, though reports also came in from as far east as OH and as far north as Wisconsin. They occur when a meteoroid from space enters Earth's atmosphere and starts to burn up. Some fireballs are more impressive than others, such as a minivan-sized meteor that appeared over Washington state in March.

"The estimated 3D trajectory computed from the witness reports shows an shallow entry angle, one that could be associated with an Earth grazing fireball", wrote Vincent Perlerin for AMS.

The second fireball, filmed shooting across Spain at 65,000kph, began at an altitude of around 89km (55 miles) over the province of Almería, and ended at a height of about 31km over the Mediterranean, according to Jose M. Madiedo from the International Meteor Organization.

Daylight meteor spotted streaking across central US