Watch Now: Fireball seen overnight in central Illinois sky | Local

Torin Kursell was driving southbound on Illinois Highway 130 north of Charleston on Tuesday night when he saw a strange sight in the sky. READ MORE HERE.



CHARLESTON – Torin Kursell was driving south on Illinois Highway 130 north of Charleston at 11:44 p.m. Tuesday when he saw a strange sight in the sky.

In the east, Kursell, from Charleston, saw a bright orange fireball that had a white glow in the middle and ran down a flaming tail, he said.

After pulling over to the side of the road, he used his cell phone’s video camera to record the fireball as it flew slowly and silently north without appearing to lose mass. Kursell said he saw the object for about two minutes in total before it disappeared from sight.

“I’m still a little shaken by that and trying to figure out what it was,” Kursell said Wednesday morning. “I want to know if anyone else saw it.

The National Weather Service office in Lincoln, Illinois, reported that it received no reports of a fireball Tuesday night over East Central Illinois, but the American Meteor Society received multiple reports of a fireball around 11:45 p.m. Tuesday over Midwest and Great Lakes States. Eyewitness reports of this fireball include a sighting along Interstate 70 between Casey and Greenup.

“I was driving and saw a lightning bolt cross the sky. A solid piece and lasted long enough to stop and watch for at least another 10 seconds. Lost sight of the horizon to the north,” Witness Jon reported M. on amsmeteors. org.

The American Meteor Society reported that “This was not a natural fireball but appears to be the reentry of an unknown satellite or a depleted rocket body.”

Kursell said on Wednesday that speculation about an unknown satellite or a depleted rocket body appears to be a plausible explanation for what he saw north of Charleston.

However, Kursell said his sighting appears to be significantly longer than other eyewitness reports. He said some eyewitness reports also appear to have seen the fireball at conflicting times, locations and altitudes. Therefore, Kursell said, he would like more information to compare his sighting with the fireball event recorded by the company.

In the Racine, Wisconsin area, The Journal Times reported that residents also saw a fireball flying in the sky around 11:45 p.m. Tuesday.

Astronomer and satellite tracker Jonathan McDowell of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics tweeted at 11:43 p.m. Central time, around the same time a Russian satellite landed on Earth. He said a reconnaissance satellite, named Kosmos-2551, was launched early last month but then failed for some reason. It only weighed about 1,100 pounds, so all debris had to burn off before it reached the ground.

According to a report from Space.com: “A failed Russian spy satellite crashed into Earth early this morning (October 20), burning in a bright fireball spotted by many observers in the US Midwest. The American Meteor Society has so far received over 80 reports of the flaming display, from people as far south as Tennessee and as far north as Michigan. “

Contact Rob Stroud at 217-238-6861.



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