A celestial object exploded into a fireball, lit up the sky, set social media ablaze and even rocked our world -- ever so slightly.
Shortly before 8:10 p.m. Tuesday, a suspected meteor shot across the sky and exploded into a fireball, flashing light around the dark winter skies and snow covered ground in Saline. Seconds later, a thunderous boom was heard.
Saline resident Jim Peters was walking out of Saline City Hall when he caught a glimpse.
“I was walking out of city hall and standing in the parking lot when a meteor or something streaked and exploded right above us, lighting up the area -- much like an exploding transformer will do,” Peters said. “I don't know what it was but it was fast, bright and low. It exploded into bright white sparks.”
Witnesses said the object streaked from the south to the northwest.
Saline High School teacher David Mellor saw it outside the school.
“It lit up the sky, blue-white, as it approached, then zoomed to the northwest and turned orange. Perfect example of a Doppler spectral shift. About a minute later Rick Sally and I heard a huge explosion northwest of us. Probably a sonic boom,” Mellor said.
Donna Pepper was watching television in her Lodi Township home when she was startled.
“I was watching tv and had a window to my left and to my right and I jumped and asked Cam (her husband) what that flash was! Thought I was losing it! I thought it was thundersnow, but it wasn’t snowing,” Pepper said.
Angela Simpson was out with her dogs when it happened.
“The whole sky turned bright. Then suddenly a fire ball -- the size of the sun as we see it -- went streaking by with a huge tail of fire. One of the most amazing things I've ever witnessed,” Simpson said,
The phenomenon was witnessed by people in Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Ohio and Ontario.
So what was it?
Mike Narlock, head of astronomy at Cranbrook, told WDIV Channel 4 News people likely saw a bolide - a large meteor that explodes into the atmosphere. Because it was so bright, he speculated investigators will determine it was a super bolide.
According to the United States Geological Society, the meteorite caused a slight earthquake, with a magnitude of 2.0. The epicenter of the quake was located near New Haven and Mount Clemens at 8:09 p.m. Mlive meteorologist Mark Torregrossa reported that the earthquake was too weak to be felt by humans. He reported the loud sound may have caused a shock wave that hit the ground and registered a vibration.