Tuesday 16th January 2018 a bright Bolide was seen over south east Michigan.
It was as bright as a full moon and ended with a sonic boom as the Bolide exploded.
Every day tons of material from space enters Earths atmosphere and the majority of it vaporizes. Now and then larger pieces make it through and provide a spectacular event like last night.
Many people ask how come we did not know about this? The simple answer is we know when meteor showers are coming but on a daily basis sporadic pieces of space dust and rocks encounter our atmosphere. Space is not 100% empty, there is stuff floating around out there. Most large rocks in space are tracked but smaller stuff is more plentiful and harder to track.
Difference between Meteor, Fireball and Bolide
A Meteor is a small particle of material from space that burns up in the upper atmosphere and leaves no trace. A fireball is another term for a very bright meteor, generally brighter than magnitude -4, which is about the same magnitude of the planet Venus in the morning or evening sky. A bolide is a special type of fireball which explodes in a bright terminal flash at its end, often with visible fragmentation.
Sometimes Bolides create a sonic boom when they explode between a 30 miles and 12 miles in the atmosphere.
Last nights event was a spectacular event that thousands had the luck to see. Others heard the sonic boom and saw the night turn to day in seconds as the Bolide passed overhead.
The sonic boom from last nights Bolide created a 2.0 earthquake, shook many windows and made some wonder if there was a collision on their street.