Large fireball spotted in Midwest

The AMS has received nearly 700 reports of a large fireball this morning September 26th around 7:05 am local time. Witnesses from Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri and Wisconsin reported a bright light moving across the morning sky.

Below is a heat map of the witness locations.

Heat Map For Midwest Fireball - September 26th, 2013

Heat Map For Midwest Fireball – September 26th, 2013

An estimated trajectory computed from the witness reports shows the meteor was traveling from the west to east and ended somewhere over eastern Indiana.

Estimated Trajectory For Mid Western Fireball - September 26th, 2013

Estimated Trajectory For Mid Western Fireball – September 26th, 2013


This September has been a busy month for fireballs in the USA, the latest marking the 13th significant event so far this month, more than any other month in the history of the online AMS Fireball Report. (A significant event is defined as a fireball event reported by 25 or more witnesses).

If you saw this fireball please fill out an official fireball report.

About Mike Hankey

Mike Hankey is a software developer, entrepreneur, amateur astronomer, astrophotographer, meteor observer and meteorite hunter. Mike's enthusiasm for meteors led him to the American Meteor Society where he volunteered his time and the services of his software development company to redesign the AMS website and fireball reporting tool. In 2011 Mike was awarded the society's C.P. Olivier award for his work. In 2012 Mike was promoted to the role of Operations Manager. Mike and his company continue to maintain and enhance the AMS website and fireball reporting tools. You can see Mike's photography work and read more of his posts on his astronomy blog: MikesAstroPhotos.com. Mike can be contacted at mike.hankey [AT] gmail.com
86 Responses
  1. Paul Burgess says: September 26, 2013 at 9:43 am

    Sighted from Homewood, IL at 0604 local. Traveled southwest to northeast, duration 5-7 seconds, estimate apparent magnitude at > – 1, no visible smoke trail or associated sound evident. Appeared to fade out at approximately 40 Degrees elevation above the eastern horizon from my position.

    • StarGazer2184 says: September 26, 2013 at 6:30 pm

      I saw it too! I was pulling in to work in Harvey, IL around 6AM. It was pretty amazing!

    • From here in Dayton, OH there clearly was a smoke trail. It lasted about 5 seconds or so after the object dissapeared!

      • I saw this driving on the interstate and almost crashed trying to get my phone to snap a photo or video … it was still day light out and it was so big and bright that it was clearly visible even in daylight. bright green and moving so fast I didnt know what to think im used to seeing them at night but def not green

  2. I saw it, too! It was quite beautiful! It literally looked like it was going to fall in the field down the road from my house. It was super bright. It broke up in to three spectacular different colored pieces of flame. I don’t know if that was from the composition of the pieces, the angles they were falling at or the fact that the sun was just barely coming up, but it was the most beautiful meteor I’ve ever witnessed.

    • it really was beautiful.. I never seen anything that seemed so close. I am from Louisville and it seemed like it was only a mile from me

  3. DAYUMMMM. i wish i was up north then. Depending on the size and how fast you get to it, meteors are worth BANK BIG BUCKS to collectors.

  4. A very large meteor was spotted today by me and my granddaughter while waiting for the bus at approx 7:06 AM in Lawrenceburg, IN. Very low in the sky and long tail breaking up. Never seen one that low in the sky and that large. Thought I was going to hear it hit the ground. Many reports of seeing this locally and with the American Meteor Society glen.germain@gmail.com

  5. I saw this as I was getting out of my car on the campus of IUPUI (735 West New York St.) in Indianapolis, IN at 7:05 a.m.
    At first I thought it looked like a lone firework tail. It was traveling from west to east.

  6. I seen the fire ball looking object in Sonora KY this morning at about 7am

  7. Pingback: Huge Meteor (Shooting Star) | WOODTV.com Blogs

  8. I was in Burns Harbor IN this morning i alson seen moving through the sky

  9. This seems to be one of the most reported meteors in at least recent posts for this site… which either means it was at a great time to see it (going to work, going to school, waiting at the bus stop with kids/grandkids) or it was one of the larger fireballs as of late. Or it could be a combination of both. I myself did not see a fragmentation at the end, but definitely would be curious if the pea-sized or larger chunk had anything reach the ground.

  10. We saw it in Walton, KY also. It was very neat!

  11. I was driving south on Rt 59 near 75th St in Naperville, IL around 6AM CDT. I did notice what I would describe as a long lasting meteor about 25 degrees above the southeast horizon when I first noticed it. The meteor was heading to the east and getting lower in the sky as it moved. I would say I saw it for about 10 seconds. Very noticeable meteor….

  12. Seen in Owensboro, KY.

  13. I live in Batavia, IL – on my way to work driving down Rt. 25 at about 6 am CDT. Originally thought it was some kind of flare-the bright green and then reddish orange colors were glowing so brightly in the sky. This by far the coolest thing I have ever seen!

  14. I saw it about 6:04 am CDT. Driving eastbound on MO Hwy 100 about 1 mile from MO Hwy 109. It was my first sighting and was pretty amazing to watch.

  15. I saw it in Charlotte, Michigan (just south of Lansing). It was traveling above the southern horizon, heading east.

  16. Cindy Harrell says: September 26, 2013 at 4:50 pm

    I saw residual, pieces, I guess at 7:05 a.m. as I was driving to work in Mattawan, MI, west of Kalamazoo. Bright light and some smaller bright pieces behind it. It fell, must have burned up and it was gone.

  17. I witnessed a large green fireball soar down into a field around 7:05 am. I thought it was a firework at first! I am assuming it was a particle of the large meteor people are saying they saw over northern Indiana??

  18. chris thingvold says: September 26, 2013 at 5:14 pm

    I wasn’t aware anyone reported these. Earlier this summer I saw two of them, one following the other in the sse sky very low. Large and beautiful. Never mentioned it as I am 76 years old and assumed everyone would think I was crazy. They appeared like 2 beach balls following the horizon. Seen from my 3rd floor apt southern edge of Menomonee Falls, WI looking toward setting sun.

  19. I saw this “fireball” around 7:00 am across the sky above Taylor Mill Road. Looked like a bright star (but much larger) flying horizontal pretty quickly. There were “sparks” falling off of it as it flew by. Lasted around 10 seconds.

  20. Lindsay Kottmann says: September 26, 2013 at 5:29 pm

    I saw it from St. Charles, Missouri this morning shortly after 6:00am.

  21. I saw it from Berwyn, Illinois. I thought it was fireworks at first. It was green with gold or white sparks in its tail. It looked like it was going to crash into Lake Michigan. It was the most amazing meteor I’ve ever seen.

  22. Cindy Henning says: September 26, 2013 at 5:49 pm

    I saw it out of the corner of my eye to the north as it was descending toward the east. A second later it seemed to break up into several pieces at the end.

  23. Grand Rapids, MI (7:05 am)… I often listen to local ham radio ops chatting during the the morning drive. This morning one ham was talking about things unrelated to meteors and suddenly exclaimed that he had just seen a very bright “meteor or something!” He also stated that the object was still visible and was due south of his location. He asked if others could see it. Unfortunately I could not see it because I was under a low fog bank at the moment (but I tried). I’m happy to see that this in the news. Very cool! You should have heard the excitement in his voice!

  24. I was stopped at a street in South Lebanon, OH, north of Cincinnati, when I saw the fireball in the western sky. I saw a piece break off, and then the fireball went out. I watched it for about 5 or 10 seconds.

  25. My son and I saw in Portage, MI a little after 7am. It was amazing!

  26. Driving Northbound on I-65, North of Bowling Green KY, & South of Elizabethtown KY, 6 AM approx. CST, the fireball crossed my entire field of vision from the South-West to the North-East as seen through my windshield. Lasting about 5 seconds, the tail trail was visible the entire time of the sighting (long tail or trail) so that the tail was visible across my whole windshield. The head was dropping luminous pieces (chunks) that fell forward and down. Best description would be that of a rocket ship in a Buck Rogers or Flash Gordon film from the 1940s, spitting sparks from the engine, but leaving a tail many miles long. Nature does a more realistic job. It was very cool; I’ll never forget this!

  27. Lee Anne Rossio says: September 26, 2013 at 7:05 pm

    I was on my way to work this morning and saw it as I was traveling down 43 about to get onto I-65 Southbound. It was magnificent! I wish I had a camera! Looked like it broke apart into 3 pieces. The colors were amazing.

  28. phyllis chambers says: September 26, 2013 at 7:19 pm

    Isaw it when I was leaving my job this morning to drive a school bus. It looked like a fast streak on fire. I thought maybe it was an airplane going down but it was really fast. whoosh and it was gone. And my co-workers thought I was crazy !!

  29. I saw the fireball at around 7 this morning . . . . I was driving north on Hwy 55 between Bloomfield and Taylorsville, KY, almost at the turnoff to the Taylorsville Lake Dam. It moved from left to right from my vantage point. It seemed slow, almost like a man-made object, and you could see the debris burning off it. It disappeared off to the east somewhere.

  30. Staci Thomas says: September 26, 2013 at 7:57 pm

    I saw it in Brandenburg KY. It was really bright and low in the sky. It was traveling west to east and I witnessed it for about 5 seconds This is the first time I’ve seen one and it was amazing.

  31. Larry Peters says: September 26, 2013 at 8:16 pm

    I was 5 miles south of Goshen Indiana at about 7:05 am and heading south and saw it for about 5-6 seconds traveling from the west heading east until it burned out. Very bright and fast. First time I have ever seen one of that magnitude.

  32. I saw it just after leaving work in East Chicago, Indiana Approx 6:05 central time. It was spectacular

  33. Saw it in Vernon Hills, IL this morning shortly after 6am. I wasn’t sure what I saw and was I am happy to see these postings to confirm it was a meteor. I’ve never seen one before today. Very cool!

  34. DARCY COPENHAVER says: September 26, 2013 at 8:37 pm


  35. I was in northern Michigan, driving southbound on I-75 near exit 301 (Wolverine, Michigan) when I saw a very large meteor streak due south of me, at a sharp angle (about 85 degrees) from west to east. It was in my field of vision for maybe 3-4 seconds and had two very bright flares that looked as if maybe it broke apart as it raced to Earth. It happened at 7:03 eastern time. I could have sworn it hit the ground about 20 miles away, but am now astonished to see it was so far away! I could not see a vapor trail.

  36. Saw the fireball near the Chicago lakefront after 6AM. Moved from west to east and looked green in color as it broke up…looked great against the rising sun!

  37. yup saw them on way home. six of them over southside of chicago high way over the ht of normal commercial airplane levels but idk if they were meteors they were flashing lights like an airplane within them clear as day about 7-7:30pm at sunset or so. fireballs that after a while just disappeared into the dark side of the sunset.

  38. I was in whiting, In. this morning on indy blvd. next to lever bros headed south and I seen what looked like a skyrocket going from west to east approx. 2-3 seconds then it was gone seemed low in the skies. Kinda weird never saw one before. 9/26/13

  39. This was the most terrific meteor I have ever witnessed. I was traveling north on I65 near the 110 mile marker at 7:02 AM, EST. A brilliant green streak caught my eye as it was turning to a dark, rich green. Then three or four flashes about 10 times the diameter of the final “star sized” flash. On the last flash the distinct green trail disappeared and the meteor turned a brilliant white like a morning star. The trail lasted about 5 to 15 seconds going from south west to northeast and was about 30 degrees above the horizon. The path was fairly level and only dropped about 2 to 5 degrees. Beautiful!

  40. Bettie Johnson says: September 26, 2013 at 11:45 pm

    I saw this while driving to work this morning a little after 7:00 a.m. I was around 50 miles east of Cincinnati, heading west on SR 32. Very bright in the sky.

  41. I saw this awesome fireball at about 6:05 central time in Chicago il.
    Great blue color, looked like a tumbling rock on fire. At first I thought it was a firework or a flare, but there was no sound at all. It was traveling from west to east and was by far the closest type of meteor / shooting star that I have witnessed. Like the previous notes, I too felt like it was going to land a block or two away from where I was standing. What is more interesting is that visibility was very clear even in downtown chicago. Absolutely spectacular. Very excited to have seen it. The color was almost a turquoise blue / silver with a sparkling / fragmenting tail.

  42. Patrick Zeller says: September 27, 2013 at 12:23 am

    On the way to work this morning, I saw a bright meteor, lasting several seconds, with what appeared to be trailing pieces coming from it, at approx. 6:05 AM CDST, in the south sky, going from west to east. I was about 1 mile north of Westville, IN. Very impressive!

  43. Interesting! Did this sighting get any coverage down Stateside? An RCMP Cruiser in Northern Alberta caught this image on his car’s camera as he drove on 21 September 2013:


  44. clearly visible east of A2

  45. paul b, def rght about the angle to horizon… here it was east… on top of constellation leo… andromeda star system? didnt look or move like stars… planes flying into it… several lights moving upward… still happening tonight in the same spot… planes also

  46. neighbor was warching it wih me, then saw a shooting star directly overhead

  47. I saw this in Milwaukee, WI at about 6AM. I thought it was a plane crashing because I live close to the airport and it was going straight to the ground (it seemed) and have never seen a fireball. Im glad I got to witness it, now that I know it wasnt a plane crashing.

  48. I did not see it, South of Falmouth, KY, but around 6:55-7:00 I heard something loud and sounded like a train, but no whistle….I listened for about 1 min and the sound was gone…never put much thought into it, do they make a sound when going by?

  49. I saw it at 7:05 (estimate) in the northern sky, moving west to east from Pekin, IN. It was spectacular and had my attention for several seconds. It was bright white with a long tail, eventually turned more yellow and then disappeared. It lasted approximately 3 seconds which was phenomenal! Must thank my dog Chloe for needing to be walked at that very moment!

  50. Lane Anderson says: September 27, 2013 at 2:04 pm

    I was running when it flashed in front of me. The fact it broke into a splay was really cool. Here in Warsaw IN I saw both yellow and green at the end.

  51. I saw the metorite around 7:00 a.m. in Lansing, MI! On my way home traveling south and saw a bright green light with a glowing orange trail. It lasted for about 3-5 seconds then was gone. So glad I was blessed with that magnificent sight!!

  52. Pingback: Midwest Meteor? ‘Extremely Bright’ Fireball Spotted In Illinois And Surrounding States Thursday (PHOTO) «

  53. I saw the meteorite around 6:05 a.m. as I was traveling south on Rte 115 west of Loda, IL. Lasted 5-10 seconds. Seemed like it was on 2-3 miles away.

  54. Was in Wilmore, KY doing my horse barn chores around 7:07 and here comes this beautiful white/bluish fire streaming down from the ky with a train of smoke in its wake. It lasted for about 5-7 seconds. First time seeing such creation.

  55. Saw it also in Owensboro.Ky Bright green moving NW toNE @6:04 a.m.

  56. Saw a meteor tonight, 9/27/13 11:30 p.m. in Fenton, MI. Looked like it was moving from East to Southwest, bright green and huge.

    • I saw the same meteor over Fenton as I was driving south through town. At first I thought it might have been some type of fireworks with a streaming bright green tail, but glad to know someone else saw it and I can now count myself among the lucky to see such a beautiful site.

  57. I saw the fireball at 7:05am Est. in Bedford, Indiana, on the way to work. It looked to be rather low in the sky. I could see it clearly as it passed just over the top of my car. It was heading from West to East. It looked to be roughly 8-10 feet in diameter and maybe 20-30 feet in the trail of fire behind. I did not see where it landed, as I was driving on the highway. I really wasn’t convinced at first that it was a meteor because of such a low altitude, but I knew that it had to be one.

  58. Bruce Fowler says: September 28, 2013 at 6:29 am

    My carpool partner and I were driving south on US-131 in Michigan early in the morning of September 26, north of Plainwell. The streak of light went from west to east, appearing to be heading on a mostly downward trajectory. At first I thought it was an airplane, but realized quickly it was not. The meteor was bright and dramatic.

  59. I saw a large orange/red fireball around 8 PM in (Hamilton County) Cincinnati, OH moving from southwest to northeast in a mostly horizontal trajectory, very low in the sky. I also thought it was a strange plane for a moment. Very big, very bright, very awesome!

  60. I saw this light of fire when i was on mu smoke break at work. The whole sky lit up. People were yelling pointed it out. At 11:30. Sept. 27, 2013

  61. Rick Callahan says: September 28, 2013 at 9:55 am

    An amazing daylight sight! (which I recount 2 days later). Shortly after 7 a.m. EDT on Sept. 26, I exited my home on Indianapolis’ southeast side. The sky was light blue, as sunrise was near. I had just stepped onto my back patio when nearly directly overhead I saw what I initally thought might be a firework fired by a neighor. But it was a bright fireball that lasted perhaps four seconds, moving nearly directly to the east. As it passed, it broke into about four or five pieces, and some of them flared, producing a whitish-blue color with a tiny amount of reddish-orange, like sparks trailing each piece. The large fragments faded and then I watched as one small remaining fragment moved low to the east and vanished into the treeline. I wondered if that piece may have reached the ground. I’ve seen many fireballs before, but this was the first one in a daylight sky. I can only imagine how bright it would have been if it had arrived a half-hour earlier when the sky was still dark! I feel lucky to have stepped outside at just the right time.

  62. Saw the bright flash of light in Ohio at about 11:00pm last night

  63. Carolyn Angst says: September 28, 2013 at 8:41 pm

    My Son and I were driving home in Collinsville Ohio about 11:30p.m. Friday evening when we saw a huge fireball light up the sky. I thought we were seeing some type of fireworks but the brightness made it look like daylight for a few seconds and a long tail could be seen as it crossed the sky. Absolutely Beautiful!!!!!!

  64. Driving past the Fort Knox gold vault. It was in three pieces by then. At first I thought an aircraft might be on fire. It went behind the treeline and I kept driving.

  65. Beverly Hall says: September 29, 2013 at 1:43 am

    Saturday, September 28, 2013 Traveling south on Hwy 111 toward Sparta, TN approx 6:45pm I saw the fireball. At first, I thought it was a very bright falling star but this bright ball had a flaming tail trailing behind it. I thought maybe it was a plane on fire but it just vanished after about 5 or 6 secs. Amazing site to see this fireball.

  66. I saw the fireball on Sept 26 also – driving west to go to school on I64 just before Midway, KY. It was beautiful! As bright as a 4th of July sparkler.

  67. I was driving home from work in Grand Blanc Michigan around 11:30pm and saw this green stream of light falling from the sky, it was stunning! I thought I was seeing things at first and waited to see if there was more. but there wasn’t. I feel lucky to have witnessed it!

  68. I saw it around 6:45 a.m. (Central time) while I was driving northbound on Highway 111 in Sequatchie County, Tennessee. It was moving across the sky from the west to east. I saw it roughly for 5 seconds, it was a bright green color and then broke up over the Northeastern horizon. I thought it was very cool and was glad my wife and I got to see it!

  69. My daughter came home from school and still today asked about it so we looked it up. On her way to high school her and her friend saw it. We live in Muskegon Mi. They thought it was a plane on fire.

  70. Dave Baker says: October 2, 2013 at 1:03 pm

    Did anyone see the Orange lights in the sky moving East then North over Chicago before dissappearing in the Northern sky about 8:30pm Sept. 30th ?

    • nancy schingeck says: October 3, 2013 at 5:37 pm

      On september 30,2013, at about 7:45PM, a neighbor, my daughter and I saw 3 fireballs pass directly overhead, moving very fast and low. Then about 5 seconds later another passed directly ovehead, then in about another 5 seconds another passed directly overhead. They all were traveling from south to north, were very bright shimmering fire balls and as it was dark they shone very brightly, flew very low and disappeared in the north. As there is a row of big trees to the north, I don’t know if they disappeared totally or just disappeared out of sight behind the trees. What did we see and who do we tell about this.

      • Nancy and All,

        You have responded to the right place as we keep track of such objects. I’m not certain though what you witnessed were natural fireballs. Fireballs are nearly always one object unless they fragment toward the end of their flight path. These fragments are nearly always close together and not separated by much space. They seem to moving moving too fast to be sky lanterns. I cannot check your observation verses others that we have as you did not include your location. Once I have that we can see if there are any other witnesses.

        Robert Lunsford
        American Meteor Society

  71. I saw this fireball around 6:50am as I was going to work in Bardstown, KY.

  72. james r lee says: October 6, 2013 at 12:03 pm

    saw light that lit up entire contryside in salem sc 29676 about three in the morning. did not know and do not know what the cause was except a larget fireball lit up our world for a few seconds………really cool

  73. I saw falling objects on 10.6.13 @9am while driving south on 15fwy toward san diego CA. Looks like meteor shower but in bigger scale than usually and slower movement. There were 3 of them with big tails on south east sky. Called my hubby to go out the house and watch them while they last. About 7 min later they dissappear… was there any indications that you know of fire balls over southern CA? Thanks

    • Fireballs do not last for 7 minutes as they are traveling much too fast to last for more than a few seconds. Theses objects must have been distant aircraft.

      Robert Lunsford
      American Meteor Society

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