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NASA saw that blazing, earth-shaking meteor fireball

A NASA camera got a look at the fireworks caused by a spectacular meteor breaking apart over the US Midwest.

It sounds apocalyptic. The night sky lit up. The ground shook. This all happened after a meteor showed up to rock Michigan on Tuesday night. YouTube user Mike Austin captured the event on a dashcam and it's spectacular. NASA also got a very different look at our celestial visitor.

One of the cameras in NASA's All-sky Fireball Network caught a glimpse of the meteor. The NASA Meteor Watch Facebook page shared the footage late on Tuesday. You can see a flash appear in the upper right-hand corner, which quickly fills the screen with light:

Michigan bolide of 2018 Jan 16

There was a VERY bright fireball (possible superbolide, which has a brightness between that of the Full Moon and the Sun) seen in the Michigan, Ohio, Illinois region this evening at 8:08:30 PM EST. Preliminary information indicates that this meteoroid/small asteroid entered the atmosphere above the southeastern part of Michigan, just to the northwest of Detroit. The fireball was so bright that it was seen through clouds by our meteor camera located at Oberlin college in Ohio, about 120 miles away.

Posted by NASA Meteor Watch on Tuesday, January 16, 2018

NASA Meteor Watch says the the meteor was possibly a superbolide which has a brightness between that of the full moon and the sun. "The fireball was so bright that it was seen through clouds by our meteor camera located at Oberlin college in Ohio, about 120 miles away," NASA notes.

The American Meteor Society collected over 350 eyewitness reports for the Michigan meteor. Some of the viewers described it as blue or greenish in color and dozens reported a thunder-like rumble after the flash. 

The United States Geological Survey even registered a mild 2.0-magnitude shake due to the meteor. "The magnitude reported for this meteor cannot be directly used to compare its size to an earthquake because the source of the seismic signals are different," the USGS cautions.

NASA Meteor Watch issued an update on the eye-catching event, saying the space rock was very slow and moved at about 28,000 mph (45,000 kph). The agency expects it was also fairly big and pieces of it may have reached the ground intact. This will likely spur meteorite hunters to seek out bits of the material where it may have landed near Detroit.