At approximately 5:45 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 26, witnesses described a fireball as bright as the sun that fragmented into many parts. Several witnesses reported sonic effects associated with the meteors, including at least three reports of delayed booms. The trajectory of the meteor spanned from east-central Iowa near Cedar Rapids, west toward central Iowa, including Marshall, Story, Hardin and Hamilton counties.
The cosmic event was the most widely reported fireball occurrence in the history of the AMS online reporting system, which dates back to 2005. Nearly 1,500 reports were filed from southern Minnesota and Iowa, to as far south as Kansas and Missouri.
Here are some accounts submitted to the AMS site:
"I was traveling north into Franklin, Iowa at about 5:40 p.m. I saw the huge green glowing ball travel from east to west before exploding. It was incredible." - Shirley McMurray
"My husband and I saw it. We live close to Bradford, Iowa, between Hampton and Iowa Falls, south of Iowa Highway 3 and north of US 20. We saw it looking north. It went from east to west." - Valeria Abrams
"We saw it in Jefferson, Iowa….watched it come from eastern sky and go straight north of town….it was huge….had a bright white core with teal tail…looked closer than anything ever seen…." - Lana
"We saw it while driving north out of Roland, Iowa. It was a spectacular sight, and I’m glad I got to see it!" - L.G.
"I was traveling north on US 61 about 4 or 5 miles north of Burlington, Iowa and watched it for probably 6 to 8 seconds. It was flying east to west about 30 degrees in the sky and first appeared white and began to change to a brilliant green about halfway through my observation, and it had a long tail which consisted of yellow fragmentation. Unfortunately, no explosion and it quickly burned out. A truly awesome experience!" - James C.
"We were driving north on I-35 out of Missouri, just crossed the Iowa border nearing Des Moines and saw the fireball! Blue and green light….and orange and reds as it flared off and on. Saw it for about 8 seconds I believe. Love these things!" - Jack