A large meteor had made its way through the Earth's atmosphere on Jan. 16, causing a loud explosion and a brilliant flash of light over Michigan.
The flash of light was reportedly visible from five U.S. states and Canada.
People in the state of Michigan witnessed a fireball explosion around 8:15 p.m. It was also seen as far as Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Ontario, Canada.
Dashboard cameras and security footages in some parts of the state managed to capture the brilliant flash of light as the meteor was making its way down to the surface of the Earth.The loud explosion that was heard by onlookers was a result of the meteor breaking apart after penetrating deeper into the Earth's atmosphere.
In addition to the loud boom and burst of light, the National Weather Service in Detroit confirmed in a tweet that the meteor had also triggered a magnitude 2.0 earthquake.
Bolide: A Description Of The Meteor
According to meteorologists, it is not unusual for meteors to strike the Earth from time to time. In fact, little meteors, which measure around 1 millimeter in diameter only, always hit the Earth. They are also usually observed in the form of shooting stars in the night sky when they enter the atmosphere.
What makes this meteor different, though, is that it was larger in size and was traveling at a much slower rate. According to Dr. Bill Hooke, the director of the Meteoroid Environment Office of NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center, it was estimated that the meteor measured 6 feet or 2 yards in diameter and had entered the atmosphere at a speed of about 28,000 mph.
Meteorologists say the speed is slower than the average speed of most meteors, which is about 160,000 mph. Also, the meteor caused a brilliant flash of light that was so intense that the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's latest weather satellite, GOES-16, managed to detect its brightness.
In addition to its size and speed, the meteor also managed to stay intact when it reached the lower side of the Earth's atmosphere. When a meteor is able to reach that far without burning up, it is known as a bolide. A bolide is usually described as a fireball that is about as bright as a full moon, or twice brighter than it.
Did The Meteor Really Cause An Earthquake?
The meteor did not cause an earthquake. Instead, it caused mild tremors that were roughly equivalent to a 2.0 magnitude earthquake.