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Explosion in the sky seen from Southern Indiana likely a 'bolide'

If you looked up in the sky from Kentuckiana on Monday and thought you saw a fireball explode, you might not be wrong.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — If you looked up in the sky from Kentuckiana on Monday and guessed you saw a fireball explode, you might not be wrong.

Ronnie Yates with the Louisville Astronomical Society shared this video captured on one of the group's three main telescopes.

Here is a bolide from last evening at 10:54 EDT captured by the southeast all sky camera:

Posted by Ronnie Yates on Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Yates said the light in the sky is a bolide. 

"A fireball could just burn out," he said. "But a bolide explodes."

A bolide is just that, a meteor that explodes as it goes through the earth's atmosphere.

"Often, when [meteors] go into the atmosphere they get heated up and they explode," University of Louisville Astronomy Professor Gerard Williger said. "So it didn't hit the ground in one solid piece." 

While the bolide may be cool to see, Williger notes it's unsurprisingly common.

"The rule in nature for many things is the bigger they are the fewer they are," Williger said. "There are not many elephants but a lot of bacteria on earth. There are not many big companies but a whole lot of small ones. There are not many big asteroids but there are a whole bunch of little grains of dust and sand out there."

As small as a grain of sand or maybe even as big as a hockey puck, the meteors going several miles a second don't stand a chance, burning through our atmosphere before they fade like shooting stars or explode, making it a bolide.

While the Louisville Astronomical Society has been here for nearly a century, members pride themselves on sharing these discoveries and seeing those faces when a child realizes just how much is out there. 

"That's why I do it," Yates said with a heartfelt laugh.

If you'd like to get involved you can learn about upcoming events with the Louisville Astrological Society here.

You can also attend monthly 'Astronomy on Tap' Events at Monnik Beer Co.

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