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MI meteor: How valuable are meteorites?

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Courtesy Mike Austin

Around the time of the flash of light at 8:15 p.m., residents across metro Detroit also reported that their homes began shaking.

The United States Geological Survey confirmed that a meteor in the skies and its burn up caused a magnitude 2.0 natural disaster near New Haven in Macomb County, Michigan. But as Lindsey Bever of the Washington Post reports, it was soon determined that the cause of the mysterious flash was a rare astronomical phenomenon: a meteor exploding in Earth's atmosphere with a fiery blast.

"When they hit the atmosphere, they create these very bright fireballs", Cooke told the paper.

The AMS receives reports of hundreds of fireballs every year, but Tuesday's event was a bigger deal than most.

On their Facebook page, NASA Meteor Watch said that they agreed with the AMS's conclusions, and estimated that the space rock was probably a little over a meter across. But "most people don't see meteors this bright", he noted.

A meteor went streaking over Windsor and Detroit Tuesday, shaking houses and knocking pictures off walls before illuminating the night sky when it exploded with the force of a 2.0 magnitude natural disaster.

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The American Meteorological Society (AMS) has collected more than 355 fireball sightings as of 4.15 a.m. ET January 17, spanning six states: Ilinois, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Missouri and Ontario in Canada.

Kelly Beatty, senior editor at Sky and Telescope magazine, said meteors and meteorites are a bit like seashells. "Let's see what the meteorite hunters find".

In this case, however, the US Geologic Survey confirmed that this bright light over MI was a rather large meteor that managed to break through the Earth's atmosphere.

"This was a very slow moving meteor", Vincent Perlerin of the AMS wrote on their website, saying that it was likely travelling at a speed of around 45,000 kilometres per hour (or about 28,000 miles per hour).

WDIV meteorologist Paul Gross said the bright light and loud noise might have been caused by a bolide, which is a meteor that breaks up in the atmosphere.

The National Weather Service office in Detroit confirmed Tuesday night that the flash was likely a meteor.

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