Watching the Skies: Fireball over W. MI was Russian satellite, expert says

Michigan

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — If you were up late last night and looking up at exactly the right time, you may have noticed a bright streak across the sky. 

A fireball moved directly over West Michigan around 12:45 a.m. Wednesday.

On Wednesday afternoon, Astronomer Jonathan McDowell with the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory confirmed the fireball was actually what was left of failed Russian satellite, Kosmos-2551, re-entering the atmosphere.

The American Meteor Society collects reports of fireballs. As of 5 a.m. Wednesday, there were already 80 reports of sightings that had been submitted. Many people who saw the fireball reported a persistent, glowing train behind the fireball itself.

There were multiple reports sent in from Michigan, Ohio, Indiana and Illinois. Some people as far away as West Virginia and Tennessee also spotted it. 

The American Meteor Society said Wednesday morning that the fireball was not actually a meteor, even though the Orionid meteor shower peaks early Thursday.

Let us know if you spotted the fireball or captured a video on your doorbell camera at ReportIt@woodtv.com. You can also submit reports to the American Meteor Society online.

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