Apparent meteor flashes across night sky in St. Louis area
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Residents in the St. Louis area were treated to a sparkling display as an apparent meteor streaked across the sky.
The National Weather Service posted a video of the flashing light flying across the area Monday night. It was taken by a volunteer storm spotter in the St. Louis suburb of O’Fallon. Other videos showed the meteor streaking by the Gateway Arch in St. Louis.
Mike Hankey, with the American Meteor Society, said the organization received about 200 reports of sightings Tuesday morning. Most came from Missouri but people saw the meteor up to 350 miles away in Oklahoma and Wisconsin, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported .
Hankey said the meteor was somewhat unusual because it was large enough to be uncommonly bright and it created a boom after falling within 38 miles (61.15 kilometers) of the Earth’s surface, while most meteors burn up before getting that close.
It was one of 27 meteors worldwide this year where the society had at least 100 witness reports.
“For an individual person, seeing one that bright is a once in a lifetime thing,” Hankey said. “But as a planet it’s not all that rare.”
Ian Redmount, an associate professor of physics at Saint Louis University, told The Associated Press the event witnessed by so many fit the pattern of a meteor, making it unlikely the object was anything else. He said it would likely have been the size of a fist or baseball, while most meteors are the size of grains of sand.
“We just go treated to one of Mother Nature’s spectacles,” Redmount said Tuesday.
The Maine Mineral and Gem Museum, which is scheduled to open Dec. 12 in Bethel, Maine, on Tuesday offered a $25,000 reward for the first 1 kilogram (2.2 pound) meteorite recovered, to be displayed at the museum.
But Redmount said searchers would be lucky to find anything because the meteorite from Monday night’s spectacle would look like a small lump of metallic rock if it didn’t completely disintegrate.
Information from: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, http://www.stltoday.com