By Sarah Gray
January 17, 2018

A meteor over Michigan on Tuesday night caused a loud bang and a brilliant flash of light that was caught on video.

The meteor appeared in the sky about five miles southwest of New Haven, Mich., 35 miles northwest of Detroit, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The space rock broke up in the atmosphere at 8:05 pm EST in an explosion that was large enough to register as a 2.0 earthquake.

NASA Meteor Watch, a group for meteor enthusiasts, posted on Facebook “that this was a very slow moving meteor – speed of about 28,000 miles per hour.”

“This fact, combined with the brightness of the meteor (which suggests a fairly big space rock at least a yard across), shows that the object penetrated deep into the atmosphere before it broke apart (which produced the sounds heard by many observers),” the post continued.

Scientists who spoke with Michigan Live on Wednesday, also theorized that meteor was large. Usually, during annual meteor showers, stargazers only see smaller dust particles burning up in the upper atmosphere.

Michael Liemohn, a professor of climate and space sciences and engineering at the University of Michigan, referred to this meteor as a “bolide,” or a meteor reaches the lower atmosphere.

“If it’s a bigger rock—say basketball size or bigger—then it can make it to the lower atmosphere and the air is dense enough that it’s not just a streak of light across the sky, but a substantial fireball and an eventual explosion as this rock reaches catastrophic failure at some point,” he told Michigan Live.

Video footage, which appears to be of the falling meteor, was shared widely on social media.

If pieces of the meteor are recovered, researchers can analyze its composition to determine the origin.

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