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The story behind the fireball that lit up the sky Wednesday morning

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Posted at 12:39 PM, Oct 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-01 12:39:59-04

CLEVELAND — A bright flash of light streaked across the pre-dawn sky on Wednesday morning. A meteor, or small piece of space rock, struck the Earth's atmosphere at 6:24 a.m. EDT. The bright flash was observed at over 700 locations in 15 states. Sightings of this shooting star came in from the big cities along the East Coast, as far west as Chicago and Michigan, and as far south as South Carolina. Needless to say, it got a lot of attention.

One Ohio man, Luke Starner, captured this video:

Raw video of fireball in the sky over Ohio

Based on these reports, scientists estimate any leftover chunks of this celestial visitor likely landed somewhere in Eastern Ohio, just south of Youngstown. The image shows the likely landing location of any small chunk of rock, somewhere between Salem in Columbiana County and East Liverpool.

Map of meteor path.

So, how big was this meteor?

"Based on previous, I would estimate size, something which would fit on your hand," said Jay Reynolds, a professor in the Physics department at Cleveland State University.

He also believes this shooting star likely contained magnesium based on the observed brightness.

Meteor showers are a common sight around the world. Most shooting stars are the size of a grain of sand. Some, however rarely, can be much larger and more destructive.

Back in 2013, a meteor exploded over Chelyabinsk, Russia. The loud explosion blew out every pane of glass in the city resulting in 1,400 injuries. That meteor was estimated to be 56 feet in diameter, weighing 10,000 metric tons.

RELATED: Did you see it? Bright fireball captured streaking in the sky above Ohio