Once in a lifetime: Bright meteor streaks across St. Louis nighttime skies

Once in a lifetime: Bright meteor streaks across St. Louis nighttime skies

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ST. LOUIS  — An awe-inspiring meteor streaked across the St. Louis region's sky about 8:50 p.m. Monday, accompanied by a sonic boom.

A few things made the fireball exceptional, said Mike Hankey with the American Meteor Society. The size of the object burning up through Earth's atmosphere caused it to be unusually bright. It also fell within about 38 miles of Earth's surface in order to create the boom, while most meteors burn up before getting that close. Finally, the location: Videos showed the meteor streaking just behind the Gateway Arch.

The meteor society received about 200 reports of sightings by Tuesday morning, Hankey said. Most reports come from Missouri, but people saw the meteor from as far as 350 miles away in Oklahoma and Wisconsin.

Hankey said it was one of 27 meteors worldwide this year where the society had at least 100 witness reports.

“For an individual person, seeing one that bright is a once in a lifetime thing,” Hankey said. “But as a planet it's not all that rare."

Models created by the meteor society based on witness reports estimated the fireball ended its path somewhere around Montgomery County, give or take a few dozen miles.

Taylor Tiamoyo Harris of the Post-Dispatch contributed to this report.

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