Out of this world meteor sightings dazzles northern part of the continent

"It was seen as far in Canada all the way down to Fargo, North Dakota, Minnesota that area."

FARGO, N.D. – Reports of meteor sightings have dazzled people throughout the northern part of the continent, including here within our community.

The American Meteor Society has reported a total of 32 sightings of what they say is a fireball soaring through the night sky.

“It was seen as far in Canada all the way down to Fargo, North Dakota, Minnesota that area,” Montana Learning Center’s Executive Director Ryan Hannahoe said.

Although just a few reported sightings, the occurrences happen more often than you may think.

“It’s a phenomenon that occurs all the time, meteors fall all the time more specifically when we have meteor showers so when we’re going through the path of a debris field from a comet and those happen periodically throughout the year,” Hannahoe said.

The difference between a meteorite and a fireball?… experts say; not very much.

“A meteor is just any kind of debris that’s coming through our atmosphere and basically burning up in our atmosphere. A fireball is just a larger piece of debris that burns up in our atmosphere so it is just brighter. We don’t see those as often because we typically see smaller particles coming through, but when we end up having a larger piece it turns into a fireball,” Minnesota State University Moorhead Planetarium Director Sara Schultz said.

With occurrences happening often, Hannahoe says you may be able to find some alien debris just a few steps from your front door.

“Thousands of meteors everyday fall all over the place. Meteors are common, you could safely go on the top of your roof and have a strong magnet and scan your gutter and pick up micrometeorites and those are just really really small rocks from outer space,” Hannahoe said.

If you missed the bright fireball soaring through the night sky you may still be in luck.

“This one is going until approximately the tenth so you can still keep looking up in the night sky for the next few nights but then your best chance would be in April again when we have the Lyrids,” Schultz said.

Experts says the best way to catch a sighting is to be in a rural area with minimal light, let your eyes adapt to the night sky and look to the North.

Categories: Local News