Some viewers reported hearing a boom. Others remembered seeing a bright light.
What was it that some people heard and saw in Indiana and surrounding states overnight?
The American Meteor Society, a nonprofit organization dedicated to observing the skies, received more than 100 reports of an object in the night sky on July 22. Most of the reports came between 1:45 a.m. and 2 a.m. Eastern.
While many of the reports originated from Indiana, observers in Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Missouri, Ohio and Wisconsin all reported seeing something. One observer reported seeing it as far away as Alabama.
Video obtained from Yorktown showed an object falling from the sky followed by a flash of light. Other Hoosiers who saw it logged reports in Middletown, Muncie, Noblesville, West Lafayette and Zionsville, among other Indiana communities.
According to Rafael Lang, a professor of physics and astronomy at Purdue University, the object was a “bolide,” also known as a fireball. Lang described it as a “shooting star on steroids.”
Lang said Earth is currently flying through the debris field left by the Comet Swift-Tuttle. The debris is responsible for the annual phenomenon called the Perseid meteor shower, also known as the Perseids.
“This fireball may very well have been part of that [the Perseids], i.e. a somewhat unusually but not unexpectedly bright shooting star,” Lang wrote in an email.
The meteor shower happens annually between July 17 and Aug. 24. The peak is expected on Aug. 11 and 12.
The phenomenon recalled a March astronomy-related event captured on camera. That loud boom, heard in multiple Indiana counties, was attributed to a meteor explosion and the resulting “air burst.”