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Dozens report fireball plunging in sky above St. Louis area, Midwest

Dozens report fireball plunging in sky above St. Louis area, Midwest

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Dozens of people reported seeing what they thought was a meteor fall above the St. Louis area about 11:40 a.m. Monday.

Reports on social media surfaced about the sight, described by some as as a flash that fell from the sky and disappeared a couple hundred feet above the horizon.

Tom Stolze, who runs the website posted a video of a bright light falling in the sky to the northwest of an outdoor camera in O'Fallon, Mo.

As of Monday night, the American Meteor Society received 77 reports of a fireball seen over Illinois, Missouri, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas and Kentucky. Several of those reports were in the St. Louis area.

“It looked like one of the more expensive fireworks shooting down instead of up. I could have sworn it landed in the field I was driving by!” one report from Wendelin, Ill., in the eastern part of the state, said on the society site.

One person saw the flash above Berkeley: “I saw a streak of white light followed by a burst of yellow/orange before the object disappeared,” he wrote.

Post-Dispatch reporter Valerie Schremp Hahn was among those who saw the flash. She was driving west on Illinois Route 15 in Belleville at the time. She said it looked like a white flash traveling down quickly and ended in a brighter flash a couple of hundred feet above the horizon.

The American Meteor Society says on its website that a fireball is another term for a very bright meteor. "A bolide is a special type of fireball which explodes in a bright terminal flash at its end, often with visible fragmentation.

"Several thousand meteors of fireball magnitude occur in the Earth’s atmosphere each day. The vast majority of these, however, occur over the oceans and uninhabited regions, and a good many are masked by daylight. Those that occur at night also stand little chance of being detected due to the relatively low numbers of persons out to notice them.

"Additionally, the brighter the fireball, the more rare is the event."

The society encourages anyone who saw the fireball to report it on the website.

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