Dazzling fireball streaks over Gateway Arch in St. Louis
The American Meteor Society received more than 90 reports of a meteor sighting from Missouri and other states on the night of Nov. 11. The fireball seen here was traveling east to west in the sky between St. Louis and Columbia, Missouri. The sightings came as the Taurid meteor shower reached its peak in the Northern Hemisphere.
As the Northern Taurids meteor shower peaked Monday night, reports emerged from across the country of a dazzling fireball racing across the sky.
The American Meteor Society (AMS) said it received over 90 reports about a bright fireball seen above the Missouri sky as it traveled from east to west. Most of the reports occurred around 8:52 p.m. local time Monday.
An EarthCam image captured the brilliant burst of light igniting over the Gateway Arch in St. Louis before the meteor trailed off into the distance. According to KMOV in St. Louis, many viewers reported hearing a loud boom in addition to seeing the flash of light.
Reports of the meteor also came in from states such as Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Kansas, and Minnesota. In total, there have been over 200 reports of people seeing the fireball.
A NASA weather satellite helped the agency confirm it was brighter than Venus in the sky, making it a fireball. According to the Associated Press, it was a basketball-size hunk of rock that broke off from an asteroid belt.
According to the AMS, a fireball is another term for a very bright meteor. Bill Cooke, of the NASA Meteoroid Environments Office in Huntsville, Alabama, says it broke into pieces 12 miles above the ground.
The Maine Mineral and Gem Museum is offering a $25,000 reward for someone who brings the first piece of the meteorite that weighs at least one-kilogram, KMBC reports.
It was later determined that the fireball, about the size of a basketball, was about 220 pounds and was moving at a speed of 33,500 mph, faster than the speed of sound, the St. Louis Post Dispatch reported.
The rock had reportedly broken off from asteroid belt situated between Mars and Jupiter, according to the Associated Press.
The Northern Taurids are known to produce spectacular fireballs at the height of their peak, as opposed to other showers such as the Orionids or Perseids which can produce shooting stars at a prolific rate. Only five meteors per hour were expected for this year's peak of the Northern Taurids.
While the peak of the meteor shower concluded Tuesday morning, the Northern Taurids last until mid-December, so there could still be opportunities for stargazers to see another fireball in the coming weeks.
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