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Thursday - January 18, 2018 4:51 pm

Michigan meteor lights up sky, rocks homes like a 2.0 earthquake

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No, it wasn’t the beginning of an alien invasion but it sure did look like it.

Around 8 p.m. Tuesday night, a meteor lit up the skies around Michigan and hit the earth with such ferocity, it measured the equivalent of a 2.0 earthquake.

But, around the science community, this wasn’t all that unusual.

“The Earth is big, and two-thirds of its surface is covered by ocean,” University of Michigan Astronomy Department Chair Edwin Bergin told Newsweek. “Things [of this size] may hit once every three years or so, but since they’re over the ocean maybe it seems more like once every 10 years.”

Bill Cooke, lead for NASA’s Meteoroid Environment Office at the Marshall Space Flight Center told The Washington Post on Wednesday that the fireball was caused by a small asteroid about one to two yards in diameter, moving at 28,000 mph. When it entered into the atmosphere, he said, it heated up and began to melt away, producing the bright light that people saw.

He said the phenomenon happens once a month but “most people don’t see meteors this bright,” he noted. “For an area like Michigan, it’s very rare.”

WIZM staff

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