Get Caught Up: The fireball from space that lit up the sky over Michigan

Cameras all over Metro Detroit recorded fireball racing across night sky

A large, mysterious fireball lit up the sky early Wednesday morning across Michigan, the Midwest and even Canada.

DETROIT – A large, mysterious fireball lit up the sky early Wednesday morning across Michigan, the Midwest and even Canada.

Was it a meteor, like we saw a few years ago in Metro Detroit? Experts don’t think so.


Get Caught Up” is ClickOnDetroit’s Saturday news review to help readers catch up on the biggest stories of the week.


Spotted early Wednesday morning

The fireball was seen around 12:45 a.m. Wednesday (Oct. 20), so many people missed it. But it was picked up by doorbell cameras moving from south to north across the sky.

“What a wonderful time to be alive, when people have these devices on their homes that can capture something that happens in their lifetime sky, because if they didn’t have that, this would just be a word of mouth,” said Michael Narlock, the head of astronomy at Cranbrook.

Residents across Metro Detroit early Wednesday morning captured footage of a giant, slow-moving fireball in the night sky.

Initially, the light was thought to have been caused by a part of the Orionid meteor shower, which peaks Wednesday night.

“The origins of this meteor shower are the remnants of Halley’s Comet tail, so we don’t usually associate comet tails with large chunks of debris, like obviously this fireball was,” Narlock said.

Likely space debris

The American Meteorological Society has since said the light was not caused by a meteoroid. They said it was likely space debris entering our atmosphere.

“This could have been a defunct satellite,” Narlock said. “It could have been part of a rocket stage. It could have been almost anything. But from the way it looked on the video, it was something quite large.”

Narlock said NASA will eventually identify the debris.

“They do a really god job of tracking all the stuff, and there’s lots of stuff in orbit around the earth, lots of things that are the remnants of our space program that are still up there that will eventually come back to Earth,” Narlock said.

If you captured video of the debris, feel free to send it to us at news@wdiv.com.

From 2018: Debris from falling Chinese space station could land in southern Michigan


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You can watch Kim on the morning newscast weekdays from 4:30 to 7 a.m., and frequently doing reports on the 5 and 6 p.m. newscasts.