Bright Great Lakes Meteor Explained By U of Windsor Astronomer

17th Nov 2023
Bright Great Lakes Meteor Explained By U of Windsor Astronomer

On Tuesday night, bright lights were seen in the sky over Windsor, Detroit, leaving many locals wondering what was blazing through the sky. Turned out it was a meteor that streaked across Windsor and Southeast Michigan, which was lately seen from parts of Ontario, Michigan, and Ohio.

Meteor over Windsor

It was a brief, bright flash over Windsor on Tuesday night — and researchers at Western University now confirmed it was a meteor. In fact, there were 30 reports of a meteor seen in the skies over Windsor, Detroit, at around 19:40.


Meteor streaks over Windsor, ON and Detroit, MI, Tuesday evening. #windsorontario #detroit #meteor #meteorshower

♬ Airplanes – rapidsongs

The University of Windsor astronomer Steve Pellarin was quick to explain the cause:

“It was a very bright meteor, which we sometimes call a fireball or a bolide,” he said. “And these are particularly large pieces of debris that are coming from space that slam into the Earth’s atmosphere and because they’re so big and they have tremendous speed, when they hit the atmosphere, it’s like throwing a rock into a deep pool.”

“Well, they happen this many times a night with smaller pieces. I mean the Earth, we estimate gets hit by enough material that it adds 200 tons of material to the earth each day. So there are lots and lots of these little rocks that are coming down and hitting the Earth’s atmosphere.”

Pellarin said that this meteor was somewhere between the size of a baseball or, even larger, the size of a football or watermelon.

“Most pieces that come down are just like sand grains or maybe tiny pebbles, but this was a particularly large piece and so it made a very bright trail. It’s quite possible that pieces of an actually dated all the way to the ground and have landed somewhere.”

The American Meteor Society encourages people to report their sightings, even though they have installed a complex system of cameras to track the night sky. 

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