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Meteor lights up night sky

Published On: Jan 29 2014 10:24:29 PM CST   Updated On: Jan 29 2014 10:48:28 PM CST

WSBT Rachel Lake spent her Wednesday trying to figure out what lit up the night sky, puzzling lots of people Tuesday night.


It's something that has puzzled people across Michiana... what lit up the sky Tuesday night?

While outside with his dog last night, something in the night sky caught Jason Goss' eye.

"I just saw this great big ball of fire basically coming from the north heading to the south and it disappeared behind the building," Goss said.

That ball of fire was big, big enough to be seen as far away as southeastern Kentucky where a security camera caught it lighting up the sky before fading away.

"It happened so quick I didn't know what to think," Goss said.

But Clive Neal, a Notre Dame Geology Professor, knew exactly what it was the minute he saw the video.

"You'll see here a flash coming in up at the top here, this is tell tale sign of a meteor or shooting star and you can see how it disappeared quite quickly," he said.

Neal says a meteor is the same thing as a shooting star. It's material that fell out of the sky. And while meteors may seem rare, they're actually quite common.

"Because there are lots of small fragments of rocks sort of orbiting the sun and around this planet, occassionally our orbital path will intersect them.2:27 "Somewhere on this planet there's probably one hitting every day," Neal said.

Goss says he's seen shooting stars before, but never one like the one he saw Tuesday night.

"Pretty much the first thing I thought was no one is going to believe me," he said.

Neal says meteors are typically ancient rocks from the formation of the solar system or space junk, debris from man-made materials that's orbiting the planet.

Also, there's a slight difference between a meteor and meteorite. A meteor burns up before hitting the ground. A meteorite actually hits the ground.