METEOR VIDEO: Fireball Lights Iowa Sky

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An amateur meteor spotter caught the moment when a fireball flew across Iowa's sky Thursday evening.

Tim Cline says he has two cameras pointing at the sky at his Williamson observatory. He says the footage shows a meteor flying north towards Des Moines.

Consistent with witness reports, the timestamp puts the bright object flying by at 5:41 p.m.

Channel 13 received several reports of a colorful fireball across the metro and even on the Iowa/Missouri border.

The National Weather Service said they also caught some footage of it. They later backtracked saying the moving object in their video was more likely Venus.

nws possible meteor

The evening sky was well described by our viewers.

Mercedes Sholley posted on the Channel 13 Facebook page, “I watched it change colors from the yellow red and orange to green blue and purple right before it sizzled out and went black and I watched it break off into at least 3 pieces.”

Jakob Kranovich also described it, “I literally drove right underneath it. It looked like a giant firework going sideways. It gave off a bright green glowing color (I'm dead serious) and broke up and sparks showered everywhere and faded out. Happened too fast to get a picture and I was driving as well.”

“It was awesome. Unfortunately no pics but I don't think I'll get that image out of my mind,” Jamie Croatt commented.


  • Heather

    That image over IC is not the fireball, it’s Venus. Pentacrest is in background so that camera is facing west/southwest. Fireball was in northern skies. I saw it in North Liberty. Venus was to my south like in the picture. I know that area of IC well as I work there. Not the fireball. Second image.. not sure.

  • Chris Jones

    I saw this in Eldora Iowa as I was walking to my car. Was looking at the ground because it was dark and the ground was icy and snow covered and all of a sudden everything lit up green. I looked up and seen what looked like a firework going vertical over the skyline and then it exploded into many smaller pieces . Amazing!

    • Norb Boyle

      Chris, I saw the same thing at Ackley. Pretty amazing. It was partly cloudy here so I didn’t get to see the entire thing. I had never seen meteors be that green before.

  • Eric

    @ Joel. I assure you that this was a meteor. Last I knew, Venus didn’t shoot across the sky with flames trailing it.

  • Maryann Brownlow

    It was comet ISON.

    Comet ISON, which was discovered in September 2012 by amateur astronomers in Russia, is believed to be making its first swing into the inner solar system, so unlike repeat fliers, it hasn’t laid down a rich dust trail from previous orbits for Earth to fly through.

    If the comet survives — and that’s a big if — the comet will about 700,000 miles above the surface of the sun when it makes its closest approach on Nov. 28. The closest it will come to Earth will be about 40 million miles on Dec. 26.

  • Jessica Bowman

    On my way home from work, I saw a tumbling object streaking across the sky-just north of C49, near Palmer, Iowa. There was a brief greenish flash behind the clouds and a burning streak trailing FAST behind it! I called home to tell my family something just flashed across the sky, so listen to the news to hear something!! I called at 5:42pm.

  • Pete Thomas

    I watched it (or at least a chunk of it) burn up literally less than 150 feet in front of my vehicle just North of Boone, IA on P Avenue. It was about 50 feet above the ground when it fizzled out. The coolest thing I have ever seen in person.

  • Steph Dennler

    We were traveling by Elgin, Iowa in northeast Iowa when we saw what looked like lightning in the sky…then we looked up and saw a bright white large ‘sparkle’ that came through the clouds. VERY AWESOME!!!!!!!

  • Josh Schulze

    I saw it about 5:45 about 5 miles north of the highway 20 exit to Fort Dodge on I-35! Blue/green and streaking across the whole sky. It was so big, it lit up the country side as it burned up! Crazy!

  • Jenn S

    I saw the “fireball” while walking in from an evening hunt. I was south of East Peru looking north. I most remember the bright green color but it burned through other colors as well. To me it seemed to last a long time before burning out, however not long enough to grab any device and take a picture unfortunately.

  • Helena

    This scares the hell out of me. It reminds me of the meteor that I seen in the northeast sky outside of Nora Springs,Iowa,at 3:00 am when I was 19 walking in a field with a friend. It was so big and coming right towards us that I panicked and grabbed his arm. I will never forget how big that meteor was and how terrified I felt. My heart raced.

  • Mindy

    I saw it also in Harlan, IA. It was a bright green light that flew across the sky from east to west. It was in the North eastern skies. It was beautiful some to remember!!

  • Marilyn Bales

    We saw it out our window in Nw Polk Co. Did look like fireworks, waited for explosion. Luckily it never happened.

  • Jamon

    We saw this last night on are way home from Ames (we were just outside of Roland). This video doesn’t do it justice. It was a very bright green. The sky looked like lighting was striking when it finally broke up. It only lasted a couple of seconds but it was amazing. People who are saying it looked like green fireworks are not lying that is exactly how it looked. It was in the Northerner sky just like everyone is saying.

  • Deb

    Several reports, including several aunts and uncles and myself, saw it in Bonnots Mill, Missouri. MO State Highway Patrol had several other reported sightings, confirmed it was falling meteorite. Absolutely spec tactical, full of color-a once in a lifetime opportunity!

  • Cari Kingery

    I saw it in Bettendorf Iowa around 5:40. It looked like a big ball of fire with a tall behind it. It came from the east and was heading west. It was in the northern sky. It was so impressive I kept waiting for a big boom thinking it was going to hit the ground.

  • Jincy Trotter

    I was traveling north on 169 Highway south of Smithville, MISSOURI! Smithville is 180 miles south of Des Moines. So awesome – it will be one of my favorite night sky visions!

  • Christina

    We saw it pass through the northern sky around 5:40 also, but we were in central Missouri (Rolla)! We tried to find out where it hit but heard nothing locally.

  • James Archer

    Just saw one again tonight. About 10:35. In the northern sky. I was just south of woodbine. Green, orange, and purple.

  • Chris S

    I saw it at 5:41pm while facing north in Olathe KS. It was brilliant green and ‘sparks’ trailed the moving light as it passed. Its path was interrupted by a bridge ahead of me, but I waited for a flash in the night sky, as I thought it was an extremely fast military aircraft crashing to the earth.

  • Connie Reed

    Dec 26, I saw a green fireball while driving through a residential area in Okmulgee, OK It sped through the sky behind trees and disappeared.

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