Remember the Michigan meteor? It arrived one year ago tonight – and scientists are still loving it

A look at the meteor that flashed over Michigan on Jan. 16, 2018.

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It was one year ago today that a meteor exploded over Michigan, sending meteorite hunters from all over the world into Livingston County to search for pieces.

One year later, scientists continue to study the meteorites that were found here, and they say they’re providing a treasure trove of scientific information.

Folks across Michigan were hunkered down at home on the snowy night of Jan. 16, 2018, when a flash of light boomed across the sky. Nobody was sure at first what it was, but word soon came that it was an astonishingly big meteor.

A meteor is the flash of light we see in the night sky when a small chunk of interplanetary debris burns up as it passes through our atmosphere. If any part of it survives when it enters the atmosphere and lands on Earth, it is called a meteorite.

And meteorites are worth a LOT of money – up to a million dollars for a good-sized chunk.

So when NASA announced that the meteor’s path took it right over Livingston County – and that the meteorites had specifically landed in the area of Hamburg Township – that made this area Ground Zero for the world’s meteorite hunters.

The first verified meteorites were found a few days later on a Hamburg Township lake by a couple meteorite hunters from the American Meteor Society. They ended up finding six pieces altogether.

More pieces were found in the days and weeks that followed, and scientists have been studying them ever since.

An August article in the Detroit Free Press said of the scientists:

“Their findings hold promise for helping researchers understand how often bolides — meteors that explode in the atmosphere — occur outside the view of witnesses. This in turn could help improve understanding of the threats facing our planet from “near-Earth objects” of all sizes.”

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About Buddy Moorehouse 240 Articles
Longtime Livingston County journalist Buddy Moorehouse is director of communications at the Michigan Association of Public School Academies.