A meteor crashed into Earth’s atmosphere producing a stunning natural firework display which mesmerised residents of Chicago. The space rock fell to Earth on February 17, producing a white stream of light which was visible from the ground.
One person was lucky enough to capture footage of the shooting star, with dash-cam footage of the event revealing what looks like a star falling to Earth.
The International Meteor Organisation (IMO) received several reports of the incident, with Sonia from Illinois stating: “End was wider than tip, tip was brighter, but tail looked like it had different rays coming out.”
Anthony, from Chicago, write: “I really felt close to a possible impact site, and was looking for any sign of a small fire so I could investigate.
“If I owned a metal detector I would have researched a few areas as it seemed so close. I have never observed a meteor appear to come straight down from the sky given my perspective. It was awesome!”
Meteor video: Fireball EXPLODES over Chicago in ‘AWESOME’ footage – WATCH
Asteroids and meteors produce a bright explosion of fire when they hit the atmosphere
Asteroids and meteors produce a bright explosion of fire when they hit the atmosphere as it is the first time the space rock has ever met resistance.
Air seeps into the pores and cracks of the rock, pushing it apart and causing it to explode.
The IMO said: “Fireballs are meteors that appear brighter than normal.
“Due to the velocity at which they strike the Earth’s atmosphere, fragments larger than one millimetre have the capability to produce a bright flash as they streak through the heavens above.
READ MORE: Asteroid news: Watch as asteroid EXPLODES over UK and Europe
“I really felt close to a possible impact site, and was looking for any sign of a small fire”
“These bright meteors are what we call fireballs and they often strike fear and awe for those who witness them.”
While this meteor was small, the bright flash reiterates the need for eyes on the skies to watch out for potential asteroid collisions.
While the chances of a major asteroid hitting Earth are small – NASA believes there is a one in 300,000 chance every year that a space rock which could cause regional damage will hit – the devastating prospect is not impossible.
However, there are some plans on the go which could help Earth against potential asteroid strikes.
Asteroid EXPLODES above the UK producing bright fireball – ESA
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Asteroids, comets and meteors
NASA is currently studying Asteroid Bennu, where its OSIRIS-Rex spacecraft arrived in 2018.
Part of the reason NASA is sending the OSIRIS-Rex spacecraft there is to gather more information about the space rock which is 500 metres in length.
NASA fears that the asteroid, which has the potential to wipe out a country on Earth, could hit our planet within the next 120 years, with the next close flyby in 2135.
The mission will give vital information on how to deflect asteroids from their collision course with Earth, but NASA reiterates that while there is a small chance Earth could be impacted, “over millions of years, of all of the planets, Bennu is most likely to hit Venus.”